Dear Committee Member,
I believe that the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) is beginning to take climate change more seriously than hitherto. I look forward to your upcoming report.
I have welcomed the work of the committee in commissioning estimates of the UK’s carbon emissions on a consumption basis. This is the correct measure for evaluating climate policy.
Estimating carbon emissions on a territorial or production basis is misleading. This measure ignores emissions from shipping, aviation and imports. The claim that the UK is a ‘climate leader’ cannot honestly be made on the basis of production emissions: Shut a steel works and replace the steel with imports makes territorial emissions lower but will likely increases global emissions.
Unfortunately, because of the CCC’s relation to the Climate Change Act (2008) and the Department of Business, Energy and Information Services (BEIS), the CCC is in a difficult position. The Act is specified in terms of production emissions and BEIS is the CCC’s sponsoring department. BEIS maintains the absurd claim that the UK is a climate leader because of falling production emissions when we have outsourced our emissions to other countries.
I have written about the situation of the CCC in Free the Committee on Climate Change. I hope you will read it.
I understand your position, but it is my hope that you can acknowledge this as a difficulty and speak out.
P.S. I have been disturbed by the paper by one of your number, which seems to be another ‘good progress’ story. It is in a letter to Nature, Drivers of declining CO2 emissions in 18 developed economies, by Le Quéré et al. I have written about this in The UK will be over 4 times over budget. I hope you will read this too.
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