The Climate Change Act: 10 Years On

Ten years after the UK passed the world’s first Climate Change Act, the Committee on Climate Change has warned that ‘urgent action is needed to meet the UK’s legally binding carbon targets in the 2020s and 2030s.’

School children in Nottinghamsrhie learn about climate change.


The committee has praised the Act, saying ‘it provides a clear direction of travel’, ’has cemented the UK’s position as an international leader in climate change’ and ‘has helped to maintain a remarkable cross-party consensus, with five carbon

budgets being approved by Parliament. These budgets create a smooth and practical pathway towards the UK’s 2050 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of at least 80% compared to 1990 levels.’ Since the act was passed UK emissions have continued to fall. In 2017 the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions were 43% below 1990 levels. But the Committee is also clear that we’re not doing enough: ‘intensive action is required if the UK is to drive down its emissions right across the economy and meet its carbon targets into the 2020s and 2030s at least cost.’