Holding the government to account on climate change progress

Date of the report

June 2017

Author of the report

Committee on Climate Change (CCC)

Purpose of the report

The CCC has recently published its second assessment of the National Adaption Programme’s progress in preparing for climate change. In a different report, they have also assessed the wider level of UK progress in reducing emissions and meeting carbon budgets. Both of these publications are then summarised in a third report which provides recommendations to influence government’s climate policy. A sample of the summary report is below.

“During the election, all the major political parties re-affirmed their commitment to meeting the UK’s international and domestic commitments on climate change. Those commitments have seen UK greenhouse gas emissions fall by 42% since 1990, alongside commitments to multi-year investment in flood defences and a range of other important measures. The UK has managed to do this whilst growing GDP by over 65%. Since the passage of the Climate Change Act in 2008 we have reduced energy bills and delivered more than a three-fold increase in renewable electricity generation. However, our progress is at risk of stalling just when UK businesses and households are poised to see a growing benefit from action. The global transition – driven by worldwide government and private sector action – presents opportunities for UK businesses. The wide range of benefits associated with addressing climate change – such as cleaner air and improved health – will be felt by households. Achieving these outcomes requires action from this new Parliament.”

What SWM likes

We, for one, are really pleased that the Committee on Climate Change is still taking the UK government to task on progress around climate change mitigation and adaptation. Let us not forget that the Climate Change Act is law – and is something that we need to continue to demonstrate progress against. Whilst there has been some excellent developments, in particular around energy efficiency and renewable energy uptake, we know that there is a long way to go, especially around action pertaining to climate resilience.

With the UK government undergoing some very tough negotiations and policy changes at present, it would be easy to put climate change targets to one side with the view of ‘more important things going on.’ However, we know that embedding activity that tackles climate impacts and wider sustainability can help key government pressures and targets around the economy, health and social inequalities. We hope that the CCC’s latest reports strengthen this argument and we applaud them for their continued work in this space.


Adaption Sub-Committee’s 2017 Report to Parliament – Progress in preparing for climate change

Committee on Climate Change’s 2017 Report to Parliament – Meeting Carbon Budgets: Closing the policy gap

2017 Report to Parliament – Summary and recommendations