The Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the government’s own advisory panel, has said that it is shocked by the lack of proper plans to protect people from the impacts of climate change - like heatwaves and flash floods.
The Committee's report finds that the population is at real risk, because crisis preparations are being run ‘like Dad’s Army’ and funding has been reduced for projects to tackle problems related to global warming. Only one of 25 policies declared vital by the CCC in 2018 has so far been delivered in full.
This highly critical new assessment comes just a month after Prime Minister Theresa May announced a legally binding target to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.
The CCC’s report points out that targets do not by themselves do anything to reduce emissions and that the government was already falling behind on its previous 80% emissions reduction target. Policies are essential to actually tackle climate change and at the moment, the UK, whilst leading the world on emissions targets, was lagging behind in terms of policies and actions.
Chris Stark, Chief Executive of the CCC said “There are no areas where government is planning properly,”, whilst John Gummer (Lord Deben), the Committee’s Chairman said, “The whole thing is run by the government like a Dad’s Army…. You need to make real changes to protect people here and now from the climate change that we know is happening.”
It’s not all bad news. The UK has made great progress in reducing carbon emissions from coal, while flood protection plans are well advanced. But there are failings in many areas, including the phase-out of petrol and diesel car sales which the CCC says should happen at around 2030, rather than the current plans for a 2040 cut-off point.
The report says: "The need for action has rarely been clearer. Our message to government is simple: 'Now, do it.'"