Energy Bill delayed – Ministers must deal with failings

The Energy Bill has been delayed. Ministers will now have the opportunity to correct the inadequacies with the green deal that will cause the UK to fail to meet its emissions targets under the Climate Change Act.

On the 30th June the Committee on Climate Change published its third progress report on meeting the carbon reduction targets. Further analysis on the Government’s green deal carried out by WWF has shown that the UK will fall short in meeting the legally binding carbon budgets due to the lack of ambition for the energy efficiency policy currently outlined in the Energy Bill.

The fourth carbon budget was approved by Parliament on 29 June 2011 and is now legally binding however these cannot be met without a significant step change in delivery during the second and third budgets. WWF is concerned that the Government’s flagship energy efficiency policy is not designed to support the clear delivery of carbon budgets.

The WWF analysis shows that the Government is set to significantly under-deliver on loft and cavity wall insulation compared with the indicators set by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC). At best, Government policies will deliver little more than 50% of what the CCC state is required from this sector to meet carbon budgets.

The low levels of insulation installation proposed will have knock-on effects in other policy areas, including undermining the cost-effective delivery of renewable heat to homes, and increasing the need for investment in low carbon energy generation capacity.

The delay in the Energy Bill’s passage through the House of Commons due to a backlog of legislation in Parliament is a perfect opportunity to correct the shortcomings of the Bill. The Government’s energy saving programme falls far short of what is needed and Ministers can now use the summer to focus their attention on delivering policy that is up to the challenge. The Government must take on board the recommendations and advice of the Committee on Climate Change and come back in the autumn with changes to ensure that the Green Deal plays its role to the full in meeting our carbon budgets.

The Green Deal is the Government’s flagship environmental policy, so it is deeply concerning that its ambition is so far adrift from what is clearly needed to deliver on our legally binding carbon reduction targets. The Government must urgently raise its game – much stronger action on energy efficiency is the best way to protect consumers against energy price shocks and to keep down the cost of investment in new energy infrastructure.

Chris Huhne MP, Energy Secretary, gave a speech on the threat that climate change poses to our civilisation and society and argued it is in the UK’s national interest to achieve steep cuts in carbon emissions. Getting the Green Deal back on track is fundamental to achieving this.

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