The Government’s official climate change advisers have warned that prolonging the implementation of actions to reduce carbon emissions by 10 years could add more than £100bn to household energy bills between 2030 and 2050.
The extra cost would be a result of Britain having to invest significantly more to catch up for lost time and make sure its legally binding carbon emission reduction targets are met. The latter entail reducing emissions by 80% compared to levels in 1990, by 2050.
Delay could cost the UK £200bn
In addition to the cost of catching up on carbon reduction targets, if fossil fuel prices continue to increase, the cost of delaying actions to cut emissions could rise to £200bn. This figure equates to £8,000 per household and is the first time research has been conducted into the financial cost of pushing back initiatives aimed at cutting back emissions.
Speaking on the findings, Lord Debden, chairman of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), said: “This report shows the clear economic benefits of acting to cut emissions through the 2020s. This provides insurance against the increased costs and risks of climate-related damage and rising energy bills that would result from an alternative approach to reduce and delay action.”
Spring review of carbon strategy
The CCC issued the report ahead of a spring 2014 review of the UK’s carbon emission targets. The review was requested by Chancellor George Osborne, who is concerned the current strategy to cut emissions would negatively impact the economy and hinder attempts to build gas-fuelled power plants.
However, findings from the CCC suggest that changing the strategy could end up costing Britain far more in the long term as well as reduce appetite for investing in the energy market.
DECC: ‘We will consider the CCC’s advice carefully’
A spokesperson for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said: “The UK takes its obligations under the Climate Change Act to cut emissions by 80% by 2050 extremely seriously.
“The Committee’s advice has an important role in the 4th Carbon Budget review and we agree with them that it is important to make a final decision as quickly as possible. We will consider the CCC’s advice carefully as part of our work on the review, which will be published in the new year.”