Lesley Griffiths, Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs
The United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP24) is currently taking place, where world leaders are coming together to focus on the implementation of the Paris Agreement and accelerate the shift towards a low carbon future. Whilst I am unable to be there in person, officials will be attending as part of the UK delegation to ensure Wales is represented at the world stage. Instead, following my attendance at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco in September, my priority has been focussing on cementing our own action here in Wales through legislation. The foundations are set and momentum is building.
As we approach the end of 2018, I am pleased to announce the National Assembly has agreed the Climate Change (Wales) Regulations in accordance with the Environment (Wales) Act 2016. The regulations show we are playing our part in this global challenge and are ensuring Wales is a part of the low carbon revolution. The regulations specify:
- Wales will be accountable for all emissions in Wales
- a decarbonisation pathway for Wales with interim emission reduction targets of 27% in 2020, 45% in 2030 and 67% in 2040
- The first 2 carbon budgets are an average reduction of 23% between 2016 and 2020 and 33% between 2021 and 2025.
Whilst our focus will be on driving forward action in Wales, we recognise if we are including all emissions within our framework, including those areas which we have limited powers over, we may need a certain amount of flexibility through the use of offsetting to help manage unforeseen circumstances. We have, therefore, set a limit of 10% on the use of carbon offsets for the first carbon budget period.
The targets are stretching and the UK Committee on Climate Change (UKCCC) has advised they are close to the maximum technically feasible for Wales. However, the October report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change highlighted the bleak realities of a world where man-made climate change is allowed to continue. This is why the Welsh Government published its draft Climate Change Adaptation Plan this week, which is now open for consultation.
This year the Welsh Government included decarbonisation as one of 6 priorities in the National Strategy, Prosperity for All, placing it as a central aim for the organisation. We are also aligning the financial and carbon budgeting cycles, so we can ensure the financial viability of the actions we are committed to deliver. The purpose of these measures is to place decarbonisation at the front and centre of everything we do and ensure the Government is held accountable for delivery of this cross-cutting priority.
We will now build on the foundations established by the regulations with policies and actions. In March 2019 we will publish our first Low Carbon Delivery Plan, drawing on the responses to the Achieving our low-carbon pathway to 2030 consultation hosted over the summer. The plan will outline the policies and proposals to meet our first carbon budget and will set the longer-term policy context to deliver clean growth and our wider well being of our Welsh communities. Then over the coming years we will be entering into an ever evolving process of setting targets, developing and implementing policies and reviewing progress against our long-term ambitions for Wales.
Climate change is a matter which transcends political and social boundaries and it is imperative we continue to work together.