Under the Climate Change Act, the Government is bound by law to reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.
The 80 per cent target is broken down into carbon-budgets, each covering a five year period.
This provides a clear, credible, long-term framework for the move to a low-carbon UK economy, and gives businesses and individuals the direction and certainty they need to play their part.
The first three carbon-budgets have been set for the period 2008 - 2022. These 'interim' budgets require a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by at least 34 per cent by 2020, relative to 1990 levels.
The Environment Agency is fully supportive of these targets and the UK is already more than halfway there to reaching the target of a 34 per cent cut by 2020.
Our work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions covers three areas:
- We operate two of the most important schemes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme
- We regulate low-carbon energy such as carbon capture and storage (CCS), and nuclear power
- We provide permits and advice on renewable energy such as anaerobic digestion, small scale hydropower and biomass energy.
Working with others
We can influence energy efficiency and limit greenhouse gas emissions by regulating and inspecting:
- business premises in the context of pollution prevention and control
- landfill sites (landfills emit the greenhouse gas methane)
The Environment Agency is also working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through our regulatory roles in other areas of our expertise:
- flood and coastal risk management
- the planning system
We work with partners to support the Government in achieving it’s carbon reduction targets as well as other environmental objectives. Our actions are underpinned by sound science. On this basis we also act as a trusted advisor to Government and other partners, and promote climate change mitigation efforts by others in both public and private sectors.