John Griffiths, Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development
I am pleased to report on the two recent meetings of the Climate Change Commission for Wales, on 27 June and 1-2 October chaired by Peter Davies, Climate Change Commissioner for Wales:
Climate Change Commission meeting: June 2012
The meeting held on the 27 June in Barry,was the first Commission meeting supported by a fully independent secretariat which is now being provided by Cynnal Cymru, following their successful bid to deliver wider support for delivery of Sustainable Development in Wales.
The Commission was presented with the key findings from the UK Committee on Climate Change’s Fourth progress report to Parliament which included a specific section on devolved administration progress. The report concluded that for Wales the most recent data on economy-wide emissions (currently for 2009), was showing a fall of 14% and that this was primarily due to the drop in economic activity and energy demand as a result of the recession.
Other key findings for Wales included -
- Emissions are likely to have risen in 2010, due mainly to increased energy demand resulting from the particularly cold temperatures at the start and end of 2010.
- It is likely that emissions fell in 2011, due to milder temperatures and significant emission reductions in energy intensive sectors in the EU Emissions Trading System.
- The progress set out in the Welsh Government’s recent progress report. The Committee acknowledged the following particular areas:
- Higher rates of home insulation measures than would be expected from its share of the GB housing stock
- The highest waste recycling rates in the UK, and
- Uptake of efficient farming practices and afforestation.
- The Committee concluded that to fully meet Wales’ ambitious emission reduction targets, as with the UK carbon budgets, the Welsh Government will need to increase effort across all sectors in future years. It will need to explore and implement new policies beyond the current package of commitments contained in the Emission Reduction Delivery Plan.
The Commission also received a number of presentations on accelerating the green economy which included a presentation by Professor John Harries, Chief Scientific Advisor to Wales, on the Science Strategy for Wales and the role of the Science Advisory Council for Wales and how this could link into the work of the Commission.
Peter Young of Aldersgate group also attended the session and presented the key work themes of the Aldersgate group. The group’s core mission is to trigger the change in policy required to address environmental challenges effectively and secure the maximum economic benefit in sustainable growth, jobs and competitiveness.
Finally, the Commission officially launched its first position paper on Transport and Climate Change in Wales. The paper sets out their assessment and recommendations on transport and climate change in order to inform the work of the Commission and Welsh Government and to advise stakeholders and the public on key issues and recommendations.
The sector was highlighted in the Commission’s first annual report as a key area for improvement. The Commission therefore aim to raise the level of debate around transport and climate change and propose principles and priority actions to advance progress in this key area.
In developing the paper, the Commission’s transport sub-group commissioned research and engaged with stakeholders in order to build on the best available evidence.
The transport sub group was established to develop this paper and was chaired by Dr Lorraine Whitmarsh, who represents transport interests on the Commission.
Climate Change Commission meeting: October 2012
The focus of the meeting in October was the role of the Commission sub groups. The Commission were given a presentations by the Wales Low Zero Carbon Hub on the built environment, the Adaptation sub group on the Sectoral Adaptation Plans (SAP’s) and the Land Use and Climate Change Group (LUCCG) on progress in the agricultural sector.
The Commission was also given a presentation on the proposed mitigation indicators adopted by the Welsh Government to monitor progress in delivering the Climate Change Strategy.
I also provided a written update on a number of key Welsh Government areas including:
- The additional £2m of funding made available in 2012/13 from capital reserves to support Arbed and directed to help local authorities attract additional CESP/CERT funding into Wales before the end of CERT on 31 December 2012. This has been allocated to 10 projects across Wales and will help to support around 1300 homes
- The “Proposals for a Sustainable Development Bill” consultation and forthcoming White Paper on legislating to make SD the central organising principle for the devolved public sector in Wales. The report on the Sustaining a Living Wales green paper consultation.
To close the session the Commission discussed its next annual report and arrangements for the next meeting where the Commission celebrates its 5th anniversary. The next meeting will take place on 5th December and part of the session will be held in the Senedd with guest speakers invited to attend.
All presentations and the minutes of the meetings can be found on the Cynnal Cymru website.