UK urged to deliver on policies to deal with climate change

LONDON — The British government is being urged by its own climate advisers to deliver on its promises to deal with climate change or risk undermining a key environmental summit that it is hosting at the end of the year.

Among some 200 recommendations in a report published Thursday, the advisory Climate Change Committee said policies are urgently need to make homes more energy-efficient, accelerate the shift to electric cars and encourage people to eat less meat.

The committee also urged the government to engage with the public on the climate crisis, to provide people with information and involve them in the coming changes needed to meet the targets.

It said all policies need to be judged against a “net-zero” test to ensure they are compatible with climate targets. It also said that changes to planning legislation should be amended to make sure new developments cut emissions and are prepared for rising temperatures.

The government has pledged to cut emissions by at least 68% by 2030 compared with 1990 levels. It has laid out its hope that other countries bring forward their own ambitious plans to cut emissions and set net zero targets.

“It’s been a year when the government has been willing to make genuinely historic commitments on climate, but the targets they have set are not going to be achieved by magic, so surprisingly little has been done so far to deliver on them,” the committee’s chief executive Chris Stark said.

The committee said failing to push on with efforts risks undermining the United Nations Climate Change Conference in November, which will take place in the Scottish city of Glasgow. The government has pledged to publish its net-zero strategy ahead of the conference, which is widely known as COP26.

The committee said meeting the U.K.’s long-term legally binding target to cut emissions to net-zero by 2050 will cost less than 1% of the country’s annual GDP a year, and could deliver a boost of 2% by 2035.