Britain lacks policies to meet emissions targets – government advisers


LONDON (Reuters) - Britain lacks the policies needed to achieve its domestic emissions targets, and should by February set out new plans to meet them, the government's climate advisers said on Thursday.

Under the Climate Change Act Britain has committed by 2050 to cut emissions by 80 percent compared with 1990 levels, and must produce proposals on how it intends to reach its climate targets, set in five-yearly carbon budgets.

"Current policy in the UK is not enough to deliver the existing carbon budgets that Parliament has set," Britain's Committee on Climate Change (CCC) said in one of three reports published on Thursday on Britain's climate policy.

Existing policies, including those agreed to by Britain and at the EU level will at best deliver around half the emission cuts required, the CCC said.

A spokeswoman for Britain's Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy said it is making good progress towards meeting emission reduction goals.

"We are now looking ahead to set out how we will continue to decarbonise through the 2020s. Our plan will send an important signal to the markets, businesses and investors so we want to take the time now to get it right," she said.

The government should produce proposals on bridging the policy gap by February, Lord Deben, chairman of the CCC said at a press briefing ahead of the reports' publication.

Following Britain's decision earlier this year to leave the European Union, the country should either retain EU policies or replace them with equivalent measures, the CCC said.

"If the UK has weaker standards than the EU that could reduce opportunities for UK manufacturers and lead to a dumping on the UK market of inefficient products with higher running costs and emissions," it said in a report focussed on Brexit.

British Prime Minister Theresa May, last month, also pledged to ratify by the end of the year the Paris agreement to slow climate change.

Under the deal nearly 200 nations agreed to curb greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming and pursue efforts to limit the world temperature rise at 1.5 degrees Celsius.

In a report focussing on the agreement the CCC said Britain would need to consider a tougher 2050 emission reduction target to meet the Paris goal, but said it was too early to do this.

"There will be several opportunities to revisit the UK's targets in future as low-carbon technologies and options for greenhouse gas removals are developed, and as more is learnt about ambition in other countries," the report said.

(Reporting By Susanna Twidale, editing by David Evans)

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