What happens next

The ball is in the government’s court, now that the Committee on Climate Change has recommended the UK’s first three greenhouse gas budgets. Each covers a five-year period and we are a little more than one year into the first of these (see Condenser, previous page).

Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Ed Miliband will publish the government’s statutory budgets around the time of the March Budget, and follow that up with a strategy for meeting the budgets in the summer. The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate has a duty to ensure the budgets are not exceeded.

The committee then has to recommend future five-year budgets a full 12 years in advance of their commencement. So it will have to propose the budget for 2023-2027 by the end of next year. The Secretary of State then has to publish the official budget no more than six months later.

As well as recommending budgets, the committee has to submit an annual report to Parliament and the devolved assemblies of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on the UK’s progress on the budgets and towards the long-term goal of cutting emissions by 80% by 2050. Its first such report is due this September; in future years they will be published in the summer.

The government then has three months in which to respond, in writing, to the points raised by these annual reports.

The CCC also advises on adaptation to climate change; a sub-committee is soon to be set up.

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