Leading industry figures have warmly welcomed the Climate Change Committee’s keenly anticipated Sixth Carbon Budget, which has been described as the world’s first ever detailed route map for a fully decarbonised nation.
Last year, the UK became the first major economy to make net zero emissions law. In its new landmark 1,000-page report, the UK’s independent adviser on tackling climate change sets out the path to that goal over the next three decades, including the first ever detailed assessment of the changes that will result – and the key milestones that must be met.
Here is just a taste of the industry reaction to the groundbreaking report:
Hannah Vickers, Association for Consultancy and Engineering chief executive, said: “The Sixth Carbon Budget reinforces the urgency for all to step-up to the plate and highlights that no sector can be left behind on society’s net zero journey. Our own research released this week shows most areas of the built environment are still worryingly underprepared, with water, ports and airports currently the least ready for net zero. As well as changes to policy and programmes, consultants will need to lead by example and offer carbon free designs for every project they work on if we are to make the rapid progress required.”
Zoe Haseman, Jacobs vice-president, global sustainability, said: “This next level of detail around action and implementation for a fully decarbonised UK solidifies the country’s ambition and determination to tackle the climate emergency with the urgency that is required. This roadmap and budget for ‘learning by doing’ and turning intent into action is an important signal to governments and businesses worldwide to get onboard.”
Nigel Riglar, ADEPT president, said: "The Climate Change Committee’s Sixth Carbon Budget is a vital document, providing a route map for action to 2030. We need strong and coherent leadership from the government and a commitment to making the tough decisions - we all need to change the way we live. ADEPT welcomes the committee’s clear view that local authorities have the most important role to play in achieving the government’s net zero target and ensuring the transition to net zero must be fair and focused on people, place and community.
"Much of this work has to be done at the local level. We agree that we need to ramp up action, particularly in the lead up to COP 26, but to do this place leaders need to be empowered with the right funding and resources to act effectively today, tomorrow and for each of the 3,300 or so days left in the decade.”
Chris Richards, director of policy at the Institution of Civil Engineers, said: “This budget clearly demonstrates the importance of infrastructure development in meeting the 2050 net zero-target. It also shows the scale of the action needed. Achieving such an ambitious target will require swift action from government, and industry alike.
“The first step in achieving that is setting out a comprehensive plan. While the recent National Infrastructure Strategy and Green Book are a start, making progress relies on a clear net-zero plan being developed, one that sets out how we pay for the transition, and the preferred pathway to decarbonisation.
“The CCC rightly recognises that the 2020s will be a crucial decade – our actions now will determine our successes in creating a net-zero future.”
Jenifer Baxter, chief engineer at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: “Reducing emissions by 80% by 2035 will require investment in technical skills as well as rapid reform to energy system standards and regulations. We will also need to develop innovative new financing mechanisms, and potentially change planning laws. This must all be driven in parallel while simultaneously ensuring the public are confident in this fast-moving transition to a net zero emissions future.
“While we need to act quickly, we must also be flexible. We do not yet know what the best solutions will be in areas like aviation, shipping and road transport or the best solutions for residual wastes. Until new technologies demonstrate performance in the market and we are embracing a circular economy, the government should continue to support R&D and invest in the commercial-scale demonstration of a wide range of emerging technologies so that we can find out what works best, without locking us into a sub-optimal path.”