Tackling climate change
To limit the most damaging impacts of climate change, we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally. The cost of acting to reduce global emissions, as estimated in the Stern Review, would be 1-2% of global GDP, compared to 5-20% damage costs to GDP if the problem was ignored.
There are significant economic benefits of the UK acting now to reduce its emissions:
In a future world where greenhouse gases are restricted, the cost of emitting those gases (i.e. carbon price) will be high. Early action to reduce emissions – here and elsewhere – can help reduce future costs.
Investment in and development of low-carbon technologies will put the UK at the forefront of new and expanding global markets.
The Climate Change Act (2008) made the UK the first country to establish a long-term legally binding framework to cut carbon emissions. It contains a target requiring emissions reductions of 80% by 2050. A wider legal landscape also exists, spanning the UK, the EU and globally, to address climate change.
But it will take more than just legislation to ensure we tackle the problem. Change will involve a combination of new technologies, processes and human behaviour.
There will also be a need to adapt to climate change that cannot be avoided.
The UK will need to prepare for more flooding, greater pressure on water resources, damage to natural habitats, and risks to human health from heat waves. At the same time, there could be opportunities, including reduced energy demand and fewer cold-related deaths due to milder winters.
The Committee on Climate Change provides independent advice to government on reducing emissions and preparing for climate change.
The UK Climate Change Risk Assessment 2017 evidence report, prepared for the UK Government by the the Committee on Climate Change, identifies where more effort is necessary, and urgent, to address the risks of climate change.
The Committee on Climate Change (the CCC) is an independent, statutory body established under the Climate Change Act 2008. O