EARLY ACTION in the new Parliament is needed to preserve the fertility and organic content of soils and to counter the decline in productive farmland, the Committee on Climate Change has concluded this week. This was one of five recommendations from the committee’s latest progress report.
Fast action is needed to keep the UK’s emissions reductions on track and to adapt to climate change, the report concluded. This is because many policies designed to reduce future emissions, such as funding for local carbon electricity and energy efficiency, are due to expire over the course of this Parliament.
Uncertainty created by the lack of policies after 2020 will lead to stop-start investment, higher costs for all and risks failing to meet legal obligations to reduce emissions.
Adaptation is also vital with farming in some of the most productive parts of the country at risk within a generation from issues such as flooding, drought and soil degradation.
The committee’s report comes ahead of the UN climate talks in December aimed at agreeing a new international deal to limit global warming.
The committee is advising the Government to:
- preserve the fertility and organic content of soils and to counter the decline in productive farmland.
- extend funding for low-carbon electricity generation to 2025, to support investment and innovation and to continue cutting costs.
- agree an action plan that delivers low-carbon heat and energy efficiency to allow homes to be heated for less while addressing the risks from rising temperatures and flooding.
- continue support for efficient, low-emission vehicles to save drivers money.
- develop new infrastructure that helps to combat climate change and is resilient to its impacts.
Lord Deben, Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change, said, ‘this Government has a unique opportunity to shape climate policy through the 2020s. It must act now to set out how it plans to keep the UK on track. Acting early will help to reduce costs to households, business and the Exchequer. It will improve people’s health and wellbeing and create opportunities for business in manufacturing and in the service sector.’