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Lesley Griffiths, Cabinet Secretary Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs

First published:
15 October 2018
Last updated:

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

Our approach to climate change must be informed by scientific knowledge so I am pleased to welcome the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on the impacts of 1.5°C of global warming. It is the best assessment of all existing knowledge on the subject, critically assessing thousands of studies from across the world. I have written to the UK Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth to approve a joint commission for advice from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) in relation to how the evidence in the IPCC report might affect our long-term emissions reduction targets.

The report states the world is already 1°C warmer than in pre-industrial times and most or all of this warming is a direct result of human activity. We have already seen more extreme temperatures and precipitation as a result. At current rates of warming, we would reach 1.5°C by around 2040, which would result in serious negative impacts for humans and the environment. The report finds there are multiple benefits of limiting warming to 1.5°C, compared to 2°C. 1.5°C would result in lower risks of food and water shortages, fewer threats to human health, a smaller loss of economic growth and fewer species at risk of extinction. The impacts would be slower to materialise, giving communities a better chance to adapt. We will publish a new Climate Change Adaptation Plan for Wales for consultation in December this year, which looks at the key risks to Wales and aims to build resilience to the impacts of climate change.

Current pledges under the Paris Agreement are not enough to meet its long-term temperature goals. If we are to do so, countries must significantly increase their efforts to combat emissions in the next decade. This is why I and other leaders attended the Global Climate Action Summit in September to promote the role of states and regions. In Wales we have already set in law a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% in 2050 and will ask Members to set interim targets for 2020, 2030 and 2040 in regulations later this year. The CCC acknowledges an 80% reduction in Wales is more challenging than for the UK as a whole. Most of our emissions are from the traded sector, where emissions are subject to significant annual variability as we saw in the 2016 data. There are few devolved policy levers for tackling these emissions. However, there are many things we can do to address the remaining emissions. Our consultation, ‘Achieving a low-carbon pathway to 2030’, ran for twelve weeks and closed on 4 October. It contained 32 potential actions to achieve our proposed 2030 target of a 45% reduction against the 1990 baseline.

Involvement is critical if we are going to meet the challenge. Over the summer we ran events in Cardiff and Llandudno, reached out to the public at Caerphilly Castle, involved young people, ran a webinar with the Welsh Council for Voluntary Action and promoted the consultation on Twitter. We had over 200 responses and nearly 100 responses to our young people’s version. I would like to thank everyone who submitted a response. We are now analysing the responses and will publish a summary report in early November. Importantly these responses will feed in to the development of our delivery plan due in March 2019 and subsequent delivery plans.

However, Welsh Government action is not enough. Everyone has a role to play and today marks the start of the inaugural Green Great Britain Week. This will be a week of activity across the UK to promote the opportunities that come from clean growth and demonstrate how businesses and the public can help. There are fantastic examples of decarbonisation across Wales, which not only deliver on emissions reduction but also bring multiple benefits such as business opportunities, health benefits and cleaner air and water. As part of Green Great Britain Week we want to collate these examples to feature in our Delivery Plan and help share the learning and to inspire innovation and action. I will be asking stakeholders across Wales to help us highlight the inspiring action across the country.

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