News story

UK carbon budget will cut emissions and promote innovation

The UK’s carbon budget for 2023 - 2027 leads the way in reducing emissions and encouraging investment in low-carbon technology.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Government has agreed a limit on the total amount of greenhouse gases to be emitted by the UK between 2023 to 2027, cutting Britain’s emissions by 50% from 1990 levels and putting the UK on course to cut emissions by 80% by 2050. The decision was hailed by EU Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard as “an outstanding example of strong willingness to act despite difficult economic times”. The new carbon budget will place the British economy at the leading edge of a new global industrial transformation.

Groundbreaking innovation will play a crucial role in helping Britain to decarbonise its energy supplies by 2027 in the most economical way. The Energy Technologies Institute in the UK is asking industry to design, build and test longer offshore wind turbine blades to improve performance. Currently blades are typically 40-60 metres long, but the next generation of turbines could have blades measuring more than 90 metres - almost the height of Big Ben.

The UK will also continue to push for ambitious international targets for reducing carbon emissions, including an EU target of 30% for 2020, and agreement on a global deal to tackle climate change.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“This is the right approach for Britain if we are to combat climate change, secure our energy supplies for the long-term and seize the economic opportunities that green industries hold.

“By making this commitment, we will position the UK as a leading player in the global low-carbon economy, creating significant new industries and jobs.

“The transition to a low-carbon economy is necessary, real, and global. By stepping up, showing leadership and competing with the world, the UK can prove that there need not be a tension between green and growth.”

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne said:

“Today’s announcement will give investors the certainty they need to invest in clean energy. It puts Britain at the leading edge of a new global industrial transformation as well as making good our determination that this will be the greenest government ever.

“Through the Green Deal, electricity market reform and the Green Investment Bank we’re already putting in place the tools that will help us meet this ambitious carbon budget. This and every future British Government will have to keep up the pace and put in place the most effective policies to tackle climate change.

“Under this carbon budget, Britain in 2027 will be a different place and transformed for the better with warmer homes powered by green energy, many more cars powered by electricity and far less reliance on fossil fuels to drive our economy.”

Published 25 May 2011