The British government has set its 5th Carbon Budget with a 2030 target of forcing CO2 emissions down by 57% on 1990 levels. In contrast, the EU-wide target is 40%.
In fact, the new Budget is the most ambitious climate policy in the world. As a result it puts the UK at a damaging competitive disadvantage compared with its European neighbours and all other major economies around the world.
Remarkably, the budget’s and government’s own Impact Assessment was drawn up weeks ago, and is based on the now incorrect assumption that the United Kingdom will still be in the EU by 2030, active in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and covered by the EU’s Paris Agreement terms. In fact, the Impact Assessment refers to the EU more than 150 times.
It is our view that the government has behaved unreasonably, and should have delayed approval of the Budget and reassessed the impacts in the light of the far-reaching changes flowing from the referendum result.
Indeed, there was every reason to pass this extremely important decision on to the next government, allowing time for reconsideration.
The hasty, rubber-stamping of a Budget designed for very different circumstances is dangerous in itself and may be unlawful. The incoming Prime Minister should review this decision as a matter of priority. UK prosperity depends on it.