Official UK government advisers say they are failing on climate at home and abroad, as they cut climate programmes.
The country’s climate advisers say the UK has lost its position as a global leader in climate action and is not doing enough to meet the net zero target by mid-century.
Britain in 2019 became the first member of the Group of Seven wealthy nations to set a target of reaching net zero emissions by 2050, which requires major changes in the way Britons travel, eat and use the electricity.
However, existing strategies are unlikely to deliver the required emissions cuts and last year’s announcements of new fossil fuel projects have tarnished Britain’s reputation as a nation. climate leader. annual progress report by the Climate Change Commission (CCC) said on Wednesday.
“The UK has lost its clear global leadership on climate action,” it said. “We have withdrawn our fossil fuel commitments, with the consent of a new coal mine and support for new UK oil and gas production.”
The effects of climate change are already evident in the UK, which experienced record temperatures above 40C (104F) last year.
“There is a worrying reluctance among ministers to lead the country to the next phase of net zero commitments,” said CCC Chairman John Gummer.
Over the last year, leadership of the UK has been transferred from Boris Johnson to Liz Truss shortly before incumbent prime minister Rishi Sunak came to power in October. All are from the ruling Conservative Party and No public elections were held.
CCC, setting as an independent climate action adviser to the government, finds Britain has fallen behind in areas including improving energy efficiency in buildings, deploying heat pumps , limit emissions from industry and increase the rate of tree planting, which must double by 2025.
Internationally, it said the UK could ignore joint statements in favor of the Bridgetown agenda and favor concrete proposals to reform the global financial system to make it work. for the benefit of the developing world and the climate.
It added that the UK was using its aid budget to support UK refugees, “putting pressure” on international climate spending.
“Even if they are compensated in the coming years, temporary cuts will cause disruption to programs and could make outcomes less effective,” it said. The UK new “non-essential” aid spending last July.
Last year’s CCC progress report also highlighted Britain’s lack of action, saying the UK had done “very little” to meet its ambitious climate goals.
Since then, the government has kicked off its first round of oil and gas exploration licenses since 2019 and approved a new coal mine.
A spokesman said the government is proud of its track record in cutting emissions, has attracted billions of pounds of investment in renewable projects and supports new industries, including carbon capture and offshore floating wind. .
A government spokesman said: “With a new division dedicated to providing net zero and energy security, we are driving economic growth, creating jobs, reducing energy bills and reducing our dependence on energy. dependent on imported fossil fuels”.
However, the Labor opposition was very critical.
“This is the most damning indictment against a government since the climate change commission was established in 2008,” said Ed Miliband, Labour’s Shadow Climate and Net Zero.