Lesley Griffiths AM, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs
This week the Welsh Government declared a climate emergency to strengthen and galvanise action at home and internationally, from our own communities, businesses and organisations, to Parliaments and Governments around the world. I am, therefore, pleased to welcome today’s advice from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) which updates the 2017 advice, reconsiders the emissions reductions possible in Wales and makes recommendations intended to ensure Wales is able to fulfil our global responsibilities. It is a very substantial piece of work and I am grateful to the Committee, their staff, expert group members and supporting research teams for their efforts.
The conclusions of the Committee recommend emissions of greenhouse gases in Wales can and must fall by 95% over the next 30 years if we are to make our fair contribution to the UK’s commitments made in the Paris Agreement. This would cut long-lived greenhouse gases to below zero and effectively end Wales’ contribution to rising global temperatures.
The advice further sets out a range of other elements, including the costs and benefits of the increased ambition. The expected costs are comparable to those previously stated when setting our 80% decarbonisation pathway in regulations in December 2018. The benefits described reinforce the subjects covered in Prosperity for All: A Low Carbon Wales, with cleaner air, improved health and a wealth of new economic opportunities.
The Committee has repeated its finding that reducing emissions in Wales is more challenging than the rest of the UK because more of our emissions come from sectors that are hard to reduce. A 95% decarbonisation target is, therefore, the appropriate contribution for Wales in supporting an overall net-zero emissions target for the UK as a whole. The advice recognises we need a collective approach across the UK, with everyone playing their part. Wales will encourage action from the UK Government in areas where they hold significant control over Welsh emissions.
However, in galvanising action from all levels of government, communities and sectors, we will take a lead and meet the calls for action of people of all ages concerned about the impacts of climate change. We will deliver on the commitments we set out in A Low Carbon Wales, as the 100 policies and proposals are vital steps in Wales’s low carbon journey. We will also seek to build on the action we have already taken, for example upscale the level of building retrofit in Wales and deliver on our ambition for a carbon neutral public sector by 2030. We will also work collaboratively across geographical and sectoral boundaries to ensure our ambitions are met and ensure the transition is fair, with our Climate Just Advisory Group focusing precisely on this issue.
In response to a recommendation from the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee, we have agreed to review our 2050 target and report back to the National Assembly before setting the third carbon budget by the end of 2020. We will consider today’s advice in full and have already asked the CCC to provide further recommendations next year on what today’s advice means for our existing interim targets and carbon budgets in the context of our Well-being of Future Generations Act.
The Committee’s advice is available at https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/net-zero-the-uks-contribution-to-stopping-global-warming.