National strategy on climate change
The (Government) Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) was created in October 2008 and is responsible for all aspects of energy policy, and for tackling global climate change.
The Climate Change Act became law in November 2008. It includes a legally binding target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050, with a reduction in emissions of at least 34 percent by 2020. Both these targets are against a 1990 baseline.
Two other key provisions of the Act are the creation of a carbon budgeting system to pave the way towards the 2050 target, and the creation of the independent Committee on Climate Change. The Act also introduces a new power for the Secretary of State to request a provider of critical community infrastructure, such as a power company or transport provider to prepare reports that cover how the organisation is adapting to the risks and opportunities from a changing climate.
In July 2009 Government published the UK Low Carbon Transition Plan, which plots how the UK will meet the 34% cut on 1990 levels in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. The emission cuts are to be found from all socioeconomic sectors – the power industry (50%), transport (20%), homes and communities (15%), workplaces and jobs (10%) and farms, land and waste (5%).
Government is launching a carbon trading scheme called the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme in April 2010, and Devon County Council will qualify for involvement. The scheme is designed to improve energy efficiency in large public and private sector organisations (which are collectively responsible for about 10% of the UK’s emissions) by raising awareness and encouraging changes in behaviour and infrastructure, and investment in energy efficiency measures. It provides a financial incentive to reduce energy use by putting a price on carbon emissions from energy use.