The Climate Change Committee (CCC) has today [Thursday, December 17] published a progress report for Wales, and advice on Wales’ emissions pathway to 2050 confirming for the first time Wales does have a credible, feasible and affordable path to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
The progress report and advice recognise the actions taken in Wales to reduce greenhouse gas emissions– including achieving some of the highest national recycling rates in the world; taking a proactive role in supporting the large scale deployment of renewable energy generation, and integrating response to the climate and nature emergency throughout its priorities for the reconstruction of the economy following the Covid-19 pandemic.
The new advice updates previous recommendations made by the committee last year that Wales could not feasibly achieve net zero by 2050.
Welsh Government accepted this previous advice whilst stating its ambition to develop a credible path to net zero for Wales. The updated advice reflects further development of evidence and analysis by CCC and Welsh stakeholders to confirm this ambition is credible and must now be pursued.
The CCC also advises further collective action is needed in Wales. This includes improving rates of reductions in agricultural emissions and increasing rates of tree planting, both in the devolved responsibility of Welsh Government.
The CCC also highlight the need for coherent UK-wide strategies developed in collaboration with Welsh Government and other devolved administrations where some or all of the responsibilities sit with the UK Government.
The publication of the CCC’s advice follows a UN report which predicts a rise in global temperature of 3.2°C this century even if all nations pledged to the Paris agreement deliver on their existing commitments – meaning every additional reduction in emissions is vital and can make a difference to the world we hand on to future generations.
Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, said:
We are very grateful to the CCC for its work on these reports, which not only note those actions we have taken in the past to move Wales towards a net-zero status, but also recognise that we have not been diverted from our climate commitments despite the worst impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Recent years have seen us take actions which push at the limit of our devolved powers. Our approach in many areas from housing to international cooperation, and from transport to public engagement, we have been prepared to use our convening and influencing power to drive positive action beyond the limits of our regulatory role, taking an assertive approach within the devolution settlement.
We are pleased that the commitments and progress we have made have been recognised, yet both we and the CCC also recognise that there is more to be done. To achieve our goals and to continue to exceed expectations we have to mobilise a collective effort involving communities and businesses as well as government at all levels.
With global temperatures set to rise even further, and the increased likelihood of severe weather events in Wales and damage to the natural ecosystems which are the foundation of our wellbeing, it is important to realise every reduction to emissions we can achieve will make a difference.
We will now consider the CCC’s advice alongside other information ahead of updating our climate legislation early next year.