Key actions the Government must take to tackle climate crisis – advisers

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Rapid action in dozens of areas is needed to ensure the UK tackles the climate crisis, Government advisers warn.

Here are some of their key recommendations.

– Transport: A comprehensive package is needed to support the rollout of electric vehicles, including subsidies or tax breaks to encourage people to buy clean cars, and widespread deployment of charge points.

There also needs to be more support for walking, cycling and public transport, and measures to make it less attractive to drive.

This could include a range of measures from raising fuel duty and higher parking costs to pedestrianising towns, providing more cycle lanes and safe bike storage and cheaper public transport.

Cycle lane in London.
More action is needed to support cycling, walking and public transport, the committee says (Ian West/PA)

That could include better, clearer information for consumers including on health benefits of eating less meat, with the proposed reductions in meat consumption less than what would be needed to meet Government healthy eating guidelines.

The Government has said it will not try to make people change their diets.

But committee chief executive Chris Stark said it was one of the fundamentals of the shift to net zero, and ministers would have to explain how they could meet climate targets without freeing up land used for livestock for planting trees.

– Heating homes: A robust, fair and ambitious strategy is needed to cut emissions from buildings, including support to help people improve energy efficiency and install 600,000 low-carbon heat pumps a year by 2028 to replace boilers in existing homes.

That must include a scheme “which works” to replace the Green Homes Grant, which aimed to help install green measures in homes but was closed after problems and delays.

– Making homes fit for the future: Strong standards for new homes are needed to ensure they are highly energy efficient and do not include gas heating from 2023 and include measures to prevent them overheating in hotter summers.

Loopholes which allow homes to be created that do not meet the current minimum standards, such as permitted development that allows the conversion of offices to flats, must be closed, the committee says.

New developments must also be judged to be safe from flooding over their full lifetime.

upland damaged peat
All degraded upland peatland must be restored by 2050, the committee says (Emily Beament/PA)

The extraction, sale and use of peat in gardening and horticulture must be ended by 2023 and the ban on rotational burning of peat on some protected upland bog sites must be extended to all peatland.

– Public engagement: The Government needs to bring in a strategy to involve people in decision-making about climate action.

It needs to provide information on cutting emissions and adapting to rising temperatures, and identify policy options people prefer so they can contribute to the net-zero goal.

– Net-zero jobs: Workers need to be helped to move from high-carbon to low-carbon and climate-resilient jobs.

A strategy to do this must develop and roll out plans for training and skills, particularly focusing on building and manufacturing.

– Overseas aid: The Government must work to get the world on track to deliver 100 billion US dollars a year for developing countries to tackle climate change and cope with its impacts.

There must be a clear commitment ahead of the Cop26 climate talks for the timescale in which the UK will restore its overseas aid contribution to 0.7%.

– Carbon tariffs: Options to apply border carbon tariffs or minimum standards on imports should be developed, which could be put on high carbon industrial products, agricultural goods and fuels, to stop pollution being shifted to production abroad.

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