EAC Report on Climate Change: Government Publishes Response

The Government has published its response to the Environmental Audit Committee’s report on ‘The Structure of Government and the Challenge of Climate Change’.

The Government rejects the Committee’s assessment that, as the Government has acknowledged is likely, the inability of the UK to reach a target of 20% reduction in CO2 levels by 2010 (on 1990 levels) constitutes a failure, arguing that the UK is on track to reduce its greenhouse gas levels by 23% of 1990 levels by 2010 and remains a world leader in tackling emissions.

The Government does not support the Committtee’s proposals that the Committee on Climate Change be charged with a review of climate change policy across Government, with the aim of improving coordination across Departments. Nor do the Government support the suggestion for a Climate Change Minister with overall management responsibility for climate change policy. The Government argues in its response that this is unnecessary, due to the existence of the Office of Climate Change, which it says fulfils this coordinating role, pulling together climate change initiatives across Government.

The Government notes that concerns of the Committee that moving energy policy to BERR, rather than into DEFRA, was a missed opportunity for greater coordination in climate and energy policy but argues that a multitude of policy areas must interact for climate change policy to be successful, an arrangement covered by the Governments’ Public Service Agreement to tackle dangerous climate change.

The Government will continue to review how cross-departmental working on climate change can be improved.