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Written Statement - Achieving our low Carbon Pathway to 2030

First published:
12 July 2018
Last updated:

This was published under the 2016 to 2021 administration of the Welsh Government

Last month, following extensive analysis of evidence, including advice from the UK Committee on Climate Change, I issued a statement to Assembly Members on our proposed emission reduction targets for 2020, 2030 and 2040 and the levels of carbon budgets for 2016-2020 and 2021-2025. I will ask the Assembly to approve these proposals within Regulations to be laid before the Assembly towards the end of this year.

Our focus must now move to accelerating the delivery of actions to decarbonise our economy. Therefore, today I have launched our consultation ‘Achieving our low Carbon Pathway to 2030’. The consultation presents a series of Ideas for Action for reducing our emissions and maximising the opportunities from the transition to a low carbon economy. The ideas are spread across all areas of society including, agriculture, land use & forestry, buildings, industry, power, public sector, transport and waste.  They reflect our initial thinking about some of the key areas that will help us reach our 2030 target. This is far enough away for changes to have an effect but not so far away we cannot anticipate both technological and societal change.

The opportunity for Wales to transition to a low carbon economy is significant. The scale of international political support and the transformational impact of investment to date will reshape the global economy over the years to come. The commitments made in the Paris Agreement will result in an international shift to cleaner, low carbon technologies in power, transport, heating and cooling, industrial processes and agriculture. 

We are already seeing growth in industries such as electric vehicle and battery manufacturing, manufacturing of low-carbon energy technologies, the construction of low energy buildings and heating and cooling systems, alongside the development of new materials, new insurance and financial products. Wales needs to be positioned to maximise these opportunities.

Prosperity for All: the national strategy sets out the aims of this government. Prosperity is not only material wealth. It is about every one of us having a good quality of life and living in strong, safe communities.  The transition to a low carbon economy therefore also has wider benefits of enhanced places to live and work, with clean air and water which will improve health and wellbeing of current and future generations.

However, Wales faces some significant challenges to transition. A large proportion of energy produced in Wales is generated from fossil fuels and we have a high share of UK industry and manufacturing in our economy. We have more homes off grid and more proportion with solid walls which makes them more costly to insulate.  In terms of transport, switching to active travel is often more difficult in rural Wales and we have a higher proportion of people over 65 than the UK as a whole making the switch less likely. Our agriculture sector consists of thousands of often small farms providing a challenge in measuring and accounting for small changes in sustainable practices and emission reductions.

The consultation aims to involve organisations and individuals to help shape and inform our low carbon pathway to 2030. We all have a role to play in ensuring we get the Wales we want.  We know the transition to a low-carbon economy will require us to do things differently and innovatively, and will affect everyone in Wales. 

The initial Ideas for Action have been developed collaboratively across Government taking into account the recommendations from the UK Committee on Climate Change and wider evidence.  We have also involved key stakeholders through a series of meetings and events earlier this year, specifically on power, innovation and behaviour change.  We have not yet assessed their possible economic cost, emissions reduction potential or wider impacts but will undertake this work if and when we consider them for inclusion as firm policies in our Low Carbon Delivery Plan scheduled for publication in March 2019 and future plans through the 2020s.

I welcome yours and your constituents’ views on the Ideas for Action.