The UK Government must set out a plan to meet legal targets for emission reductions by 2032 as matter of urgency.
That’s according to the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), which is calling on the government to better address climate change risks, including steps to improve river and coastal flood defences, as well as the resilience of energy, transport and water infrastructure to severe weather.
In addition to this urgently needed emissions reduction plan, the CCC also suggests the UK’s National Adaptation Programme (NAP) is strengthened in the first half of 2018.
It says the new programme, which drives action to prepare for climate change impacts, needs to be more ambitious, with policies that make a measurable difference and with clearer mechanisms to track progress.
It also notes greenhouse gases from transport and buildings are still rising and suggested increasing support for electric vehicles and cutting greenhouse gas emissions from the domestic heat sector are needed to stop this.
The annual progress report adds the overall state of the natural environment is worsening, reducing its resilience to climate change.
The Committee said overall UK emissions had fallen by about 42% since 1990, despite gross domestic product rising by more than 65% over the period.
Lord Deben, who chairs the independent advisory Committee, said decarbonisation offered economic opportunities but unless the UK had a clear path laid out, investors would invest elsewhere.
The Committee added the UK must address priority areas including flood risks to homes and businesses, risks to the natural environment, including to soils and biodiversity and risks to human health and wellbeing from higher temperatures.
Lord Deben said: “The wide range of benefits associated with addressing climate change – such as cleaner air and improved health – will be felt by households. Achieving these outcomes requires action from this new Parliament.”