The Climate Change Act 2008 (c 27) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The Act makes it the duty of the Secretary of State to ensure that the net UK carbon account for all six Kyoto greenhouse gases for the year 2050 is at least 80% lower than the 1990 baseline, toward avoiding dangerous climate change. The Act aims to enable the United Kingdom to become a low-carbon economy and gives ministers powers to introduce the measures necessary to achieve a range of greenhouse gas reduction targets. An independent Committee on Climate Change has been created under the Act to provide advice to UK Government on these targets and related policies. In the act Secretary of State refers to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.
|The Climate Change Act 2008|
|Long title||An Act to set a target for the year 2050 for the reduction of targeted greenhouse gas emissions; to provide for a system of carbon budgeting; to establish a Committee on Climate Change; to confer powers to establish trading schemes for the purpose of limiting greenhouse gas emissions or encouraging activities that reduce such emissions or remove greenhouse gas from the atmosphere; to make provision about adaptation to climate change; to confer powers to make schemes for providing financial incentives to produce less domestic waste and to recycle more of what is produced; to make provision about the collection of household waste; to confer powers to make provision about charging for single use carrier bags; to amend the provisions of the Energy Act 2004 about renewable transport fuel obligations; to make provision about carbon emissions reduction targets; to make other provision about climate change; and for connected purposes.|
|Citation||2008 c 27|
|Introduced by||Lord Rooker, Hilary Benn|
|Royal assent||26 November 2008|
|History of passage through Parliament|
|Text of statute as originally enacted|
|Revised text of statute as amended|
On 16 October 2008 Ed Miliband, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, announced that the Act would mandate an 80% cut overall in six greenhouse gases by 2050.
When first published the Government proposed that the Act would set a target of a 60% cut, excluding international aviation and shipping, a figure that had been a Government ambition for some years. The original 60% figure was adopted based on the recommendation of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, made in their June 2000 report Energy - The Changing Environment. If adopted by other countries too, a 60% cut by 2050 was thought likely to limit atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations to no more than 550 parts per million which, it was generally thought at the time, would probably prevent global temperatures from rising by more than 2 °C (3.6 °F) and so avoid the most serious consequences of global warming. The Royal Commission went on to say that there should be an 80% cut by 2100, and that the 550 ppm upper limit should be 'kept under review'. They restated the importance of this in January 2006.
The Royal Commission's figures were based on a June 1996 decision of the EU Council of Ministers to limit emissions to 550 ppm, contained in their Community Strategy on Climate Change. This, in turn, was based on the 1995 IPCC Second Assessment Report, which first mentioned the 550 ppm - 2 °C connection.
A scientific assessment at the 2005 international Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change conference, held in Exeter under the UK presidency of the G8, concluded that at the level of 550 ppm it was likely that 2 °C would be exceeded, based on the projections of more recent climate models. Stabilising greenhouse gas concentrations at 450 ppm would only result in a 50% likelihood of limiting global warming to 2 °C, and that it would be necessary to achieve stabilisation below 400 ppm to give a relatively high certainty of not exceeding 2 °C.
Based on the current rate of increase - averaging about 2 ppm per year - greenhouse gas concentrations are likely to reach 400 ppm by 2016, 450 ppm by 2041, and 550 ppm by around 2091. It is because of this that environmental organisations and some political parties criticised the 60% target as being insufficiently ambitious, and why they demanded greater cuts (80%-100%), as mentioned below. The exclusion of emissions from aviation and shipping, combined with forecasts for growth in these areas, also means that the net effect of the bill would actually have only been a 35-50% total cut on 1990 levels by 2050.
The procedure for enacting legislation in the United Kingdom Parliament sometimes involves numerous consultative and debating stages.
The 2008 Climate Change Bill was preceded by a Private Member's Bill of the same name drafted by Friends of the Earth and brought before Parliament on 7 April 2005. Although it received widespread support the Bill was unable to make progress as Parliament was dissolved ahead of the 2005 general election.
Shortly after the 2005 general election, 412 of the 646 Members of Parliament signed an early day motion calling for a Climate Change Bill to be introduced, to include a requirement for 3% annual cuts in carbon emissions. Only three other early day motions had ever been signed by more than 400 MPs.
The Labour Government announced the introduction of a Climate Change Bill in the Queen's speech, on 15 November 2006. The draft Bill was published on 13 March 2007, but proposed five year 'carbon budgets' rather than the annual targets many had called for. The Government believe that varying weather conditions make annual targets impractical.
The draft Bill was scrutinised by three parliamentary committees. A Joint Select Committee of 24 members from the House of Lords and the House of Commons, chaired by Lord Puttnam, was immediately established to scrutinize the Bill. The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee of the House of Commons also carried out its own inquiry into the draft Bill, as did the Environmental Audit Committee. These Committees received evidence from a series of interested parties between April and July and cast votes on the final wording of their reports.
Among the critics giving evidence was Lord Lawson who argued that the entire concept was counter-productive because humans would easily be able to adapt to the worst predictions of a 4 degree rise in temperature by the end of the century because, with an average world economic growth of 2%, they would be "seven times as well off as we are today", therefore it was not reasonable to impose a sacrifice on the "much poorer present generation".
The Government response to the report was printed in October 2007.
The Bill was introduced to the House of Lords by the Government on 14 November 2007. The first debate on the floor of the House (Second Reading) was held on 27 November 2007 and lasted six hours. This was followed by eight sittings in the Committee Stage, four further sittings at Report Stage and one more for Third Reading. All of these sittings (including Committee stage) took place on the floor of the House and ten votes for various amendments.
One of the votes rejected a proposal by a majority of 148 to 51 to change the target for 2050 from 60% to 80% below baseline 1990 emissions on the basis that they should wait for new scientific advice from the Committee on Climate Change before changing the target from 60%.
An amendment, to remove the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change's absolute duty to ensure that the 2050 target was met, and replace it with a duty to propose policies to meet the target, was narrowly defeated by 132 votes to 130 in the Third Reading in the House of Lords on 31 March 2008. The bill passed to the House of Commons.
On 8 June 2008, following the Second Reading of the Bill, only five members of the House of Commons voted against. The five were Christopher Chope, Philip Davies, Peter Lilley, Andrew Tyrie, and Ann Widdecombe.
During the debate on the Third Reading on 28 October, the government rejected an opposition amendment to allow the Secretary of State to set the maximum level of carbon dioxide that may be emitted per unit of output by any generating station. After the Committee on Climate Change's advice on the level of the 2050 target was brought forward, the 2050 target was revised from 60% of 1990 carbon dioxide emissions to 80% of the six major greenhouse gas emissions at the instigation of the government. It was also agreed that the British share of aviation and shipping emissions would form part of the target, when a method of measuring these could be agreed.
The bill passed into law on 26 November 2008.
The opposition Conservative Party supported the concept of a bill, and proposed their own variation ahead of the Government's. One of the key differences is that they were demanding annual carbon targets, and that the Committee on Climate Change should have an enhanced role, setting targets as well as advising governments.
The Liberal Democrats took a similar stance to the Conservatives, and were also of the opinion that setting targets every five years would be an abdication of responsibility, because a government typically remains in power for only four years. They also stated that the proposed 60% cut by 2050 may not be sufficient, and that "we may well need to aim more towards about 80%".
A stronger response was provided by the Green Party of England and Wales. They considered that legislation provides a 'massive opportunity', but that the draft Bill was 'dangerously unambitious'. Among their demands were annual targets and an overall emission cut of 90% by 2050. Respect - The Unity Coalition were also in favour of a 90% cut in carbon emissions by 2050, but did not express a view on the bill.
Among the nationalist political parties whose views were known, the concept of a Climate Change Bill was supported in principle by the Scottish National Party and the Democratic Unionist Party. Welsh Plaid Cymru proposed 3% year-on-year carbon cuts for Wales in their policy statements.
The United Kingdom Independence Party believed that the Bill was only necessary because of a failure to devise a viable plan for other sources of energy to replace fossil fuels. They considered that the Bill was 'deeply misguided', likely to cripple the economy and that it would destroy investment in alternative technologies. Instead they believed that the Government and Opposition 'need to be looking into proper alternatives like nuclear power', and that plans to invest in renewable alternative energies as wind power and solar power, as well as cutting carbon emissions by 60%, were 'unachievable and unnecessary'.
Friends of the Earth's Big Ask Campaign was one of the factors that influenced the government to include the Climate Change Bill in their legislative programme. The organisation demanded that the Bill should include legally binding targets for a reduction of at least 3% a year, amounting a total cut of around 80% by 2050. They considered that a 60% cut in carbon emissions by 2050 was not a sufficient contribution from developed countries to the international action on climate change.
The UK arm of WWF supported the Bill, but launched its Get on Board campaign for the 2050 carbon reduction target to be raised to at least 80%, including the UK share of emissions from international aviation & shipping. In addition, WWF-UK called for retention of the House of Lords' amendment that at least 70% of the UK's reduction should be achieved domestically (limiting to 30% the proportion of the reduction that can be achieved through purchasing 'carbon credits').
The other 50 or so environmental, international development and other organisations belonging to the Stop Climate Chaos coalition backed the Big Ask Campaign and shared similar views. The coalition itself criticised the Government for failing to acknowledge the 'global warming danger threshold' of 2 °C. Taking this into account, they believed that the 2020 target should be a minimum of 30%, with an 80% target for 2050. They also considered that the Bill should include annual 3% reduction targets, cover aviation and shipping within its scope, and ban the purchase of carbon credits from overseas, a practice which they believe exports the emissions problem elsewhere.
The Joint Public Issues Team of the Baptist, Methodist, and United Reformed churches called for an 80% reduction in carbon emissions [by 2050], for not ignoring the contribution of air and sea travel, and for reductions of the United Kingdom’s own emissions rather than relying on buying carbon credits from other countries.
The Confederation of British Industry, which has created its own climate change task force, welcomed the proposed Bill, stating that it combined two vital elements, long-term clarity on policy direction and flexibility in its delivery.
The Committee on Climate Change, whose powers are invested by Part 2 of the Act, was formally launched in December 2008 with Lord Adair Turner as its chair. There is also an Adaptation Sub-Committee (ASC), which sets the direction for adaptation matters including independent advice on preparing for climate change. The ASC is made up of experts from all fields of climate change, science and economics and is currently chaired by Baroness Brown of Cambridge.
As required by this legislation, the UK Government has produced several reports, some of which are set to be updated at regular intervals. These reports include:
The above reports and outputs were supported by the UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP) (), and also the UKCP09 projections. From late 2018, these projections have been superseded by UKCP18 projections.
This is a list of notable events relating to the environment in 2008. They relate to environmental law, conservation, environmentalism and environmental issues.British Energy Efficiency Federation
The British Energy Efficiency Federation (or BEEF) was founded in 1996 by the United Kingdom Government to provide a forum for consultation between existing industry associations in the energy sector.CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme
The CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (the CRC, formerly the Carbon Reduction Commitment) is a mandatory carbon emissions reduction scheme in the United Kingdom that applies to large energy-intensive organisations in the public and private sectors. It has been estimated that the scheme will reduce carbon emissions by 1.2 million tonnes of carbon per year by 2020. In an effort to avoid dangerous climate change, the British Government first committed to cutting UK carbon emissions by 60% by 2050 (compared to 1990 levels), and in October 2008 increased this commitment to 80%. The scheme has also been credited with driving up demand for energy-efficient goods and services.The CRC was announced in the 2007 Energy White Paper, published on 23 May 2007. A consultation in 2006 showed strong support for it to be mandatory, rather than voluntary. The Commitment was introduced under enabling powers in Part 3 of the Climate Change Act 2008. A consultation into the scheme's implementation was launched in June 2007. The Scheme is being introduced under the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme Order 2010.The Conservative Government scrapped the scheme 2019 .Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Act 2006
The Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Act 2006 (c 19) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which aims to boost the number of heat and electricity microgeneration installations in the United Kingdom, so helping to cut carbon emissions and reduce fuel poverty.
The Act was piloted through the House of Commons as a Private Member's Bill by Mark Lazarowicz, MP.
The Rt Hon Eric Forth MP, a well known opponent of Private Members' Bills who often fillibustered them in Parliament, died during the passage of this bill through Parliament, after having prolonged the debate during Third Reading and Report for a number of days.Coal Authority
The Coal Authority is a non-departmental public body of the United Kingdom government.Committee on Climate Change
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) is an independent non-departmental public body, formed under the Climate Change Act (2008) to advise the United Kingdom and devolved Governments and Parliaments on tackling and preparing for climate change. The Committee provides advice on setting carbon budgets (for the UK Government carbon budgets are designed to place a limit or ceiling on the level of economy-wide emissions that can be emitted in a five-year period), and reports regularly to the Parliaments and Assemblies on the progress made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. As of May 2019 not yet made into law, the CCC has recommended net zero greenhouse gas emissions by the United Kingdom by 2050 and the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) has said it would be affordable. However some environmental groups, such as Extinction Rebellion, are calling for a more ambitious target.Energy Institute
The Energy Institute (EI) is a UK chartered professional membership body.Energy Retail Association
The Energy Retail Association (ERA) was a trade association which promoted the interests of electricity and gas retailers in the domestic market in Great Britain, formed in 2003. In April 2012 it merged with the Association of Electricity Producers and the UK Business Council for Sustainable Energy to become Energy UK.Energy policy of the United Kingdom
The current energy policy of the United Kingdom is set out in the Energy White Paper of May 2007 and Low Carbon Transition Plan of July 2009, building on previous work including the 2003 Energy White Paper and the Energy Review Report in 2006. It was led by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, then headed by Amber Rudd (the DECC was disbanded on 14 July 2016). The current focus of policy are on reforming the electricity market, rolling out smart meters and improving the energy efficiency of the UK building stock through the Green Deal.Expro
Expro (officially Expro International Group) is an international oil and gas service company, specializing in well flow management, headquartered in Reading, United Kingdom.Franco-British Nuclear Forum
The first meeting of the Franco–British Nuclear Forum was held in Paris in November 2007, chaired by the Minister for Energy and the French Industry Minister. The working groups are focusing on specific areas for collaboration. A follow-up meeting on the issue in London was planned for March 2008, but did not take place.New Electricity Trading Arrangements
New Electricity Trading Arrangements (NETA) is the system of market trading arrangements under which electricity is traded in the United Kingdom's wholesale electricity market as of 27 March 2001. The arrangements provided that parties could trade off their imbalances close to real time.Opus Energy
Opus Energy Limited supplies gas and electricity to businesses across the United Kingdom. It purchases electricity from wind, solar, hydro, and anaerobic digestion generators, and provides support to develop energy-generating sites. It is headquartered in Northampton, United Kingdom with an additional office in Oxford.Regal Petroleum
Regal Petroleum plc is a petroleum company based in London with assets in Romania, Ukraine, Greece, and Egypt. It was founded by Frank Timiş in November 1996, and is listed on the London Alternative Investment Market.Score Group plc
Score Group plc is an international engineering business based in Peterhead, Scotland.Sunbury Research Centre
The Sunbury Research Centre -- also known as ICBT Sunbury -- is a main research institute of BP in north-east Surrey.UK Power Networks
UK Power Networks is a distribution network operator for electricity covering South East England, the East of England and London. It manages three licensed distribution networks (Eastern Power Networks PLC, South Eastern Power Networks PLC and London Power Networks PLC) which together cover an area of 30000 square kilometres and approximately eight million customers.
In 2014 UK Power Networks was awarded £25 million from the electricity regulator Ofgem's Low Carbon Networks Fund for the Low Carbon London project. In 2011 it was awarded £6.7 million by Ofgem for another project, Flexible Plug and Play, which is researching new ways, technical and commercial, to connect renewable energy to the distribution network in Cambridgeshire.
As well as the three distribution arms UK Power Networks also operates UK Power Networks Services Holdings Limited, which develops and maintains electrical networks for clients including London Underground, Heathrow and Stansted airports, Docklands Light Railway and Canary Wharf.WesternGeco
WesternGeco is a geophysical services company. It is headquartered in the Schlumberger House on the property of London Gatwick Airport in Crawley, West Sussex, in Greater London.Western Power Distribution
Western Power Distribution is the trading identity of four electricity distribution companies - WPD South West (operating in South West England), WPD South Wales (operating in South Wales) and WPD Midlands (operating in East Midlands and West Midlands). All of the companies act as the distribution network operator for their respective regions, and are registered in Bristol, England. Western Power Distribution serves approximately 7.7 million customers over its combined distribution areas.
Western Power Distribution is a subsidiary of the American utility corporation PPL.
It should not be confused with WPD, a wind farm company in north-western Europe, or Western Power Corporation, an electricity distributor in Australia.
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