Climate Change Act 2008

Source: IEA/IRENA Renewables Policies Database
Last updated: 25 February 2020

On 26 November 2008, the Climate Change Act became law. The Act aims to improve carbon management, help the transition toward a low-carbon economy, and demonstrate strong international UK leadership. Major provisions of the Act include the setting of legally binding targets, the establishment of a carbon budgeting system, and the creation of a Committee on Climate Change. The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) is an independent body designed to recommend targets, advise on the level of carbon budgets, as well as to monitor and report progress towards targets.  The UK set the first 4 carbon budgets in law, covering the period from 2008 to 2027. We have committed to halving UK emissions relative to 1990 during the fourth carbon budget period (2023 to 2027).  Each carbon budget is split into:  the traded sector, which is based on the UK's share of the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) limit for the period and covers power and heavy industry  the non-traded sector, which covers everything else like road transport, agriculture and buildings  Specifically, the carbon budgets limit our greenhouse gas emissions to:  3,018 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) over the first carbon budget period (2008 to 2012)  2,782 MtCO2e over the second carbon budget period (2013 to 2017)  2,544 MtCO2e over the third carbon budget period (2018 to 2022)  1,950 MtCO2e over the fourth carbon budget period (2023 to 2027)  The Carbon Plan sets out our policies and proposals for meeting the first 4 carbon budgets and can be found at…

The Climate Change Act legislates a long-term, economy-wide emissions target to reduce GHGs, including methane, by at least 80% by 2050. In 2019, the Committee on Climate Change released a report reassessing long-term emissions targets and recommends a new net-zero target by 2050.

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