A coalition of over 100 organisations from some of the UK’s biggest companies, investors and trade associations have united to call on government to stay the course and not reduce emission objectives under the Fourth Carbon Budget.

The Fourth Carbon Budget is set to be reviewed in spring 2014, following a decision by the Coalition government. However, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) today provided revised advice to government as the budget can only be changed if CCC determines “there have been significant changes affecting the basis on which the previous decision was made”.

After undertaking a review of the situation the CCC has determined that “there has been no significant change in circumstances as specified in the Climate Change Act and therefore the budget should not and cannot be changed under the terms of the Act”.

In a statement released to coincide with the CCC’s review, the alliance of UK stakeholders urged government to “to stick to ambitious emission reduction objectives for the 2020s to give business the certainty it needs to commit significant investments to the UK’s promising low-carbon economy”.

Steve Waygood, chief investment officer at Aviva explained: “As insurers and investors, we are quite accustomed to dealing with financial arguments that point towards the benefits of taking preventative and mitigating action before a much more expensive disaster unfolds.

“We believe that the implied changes to the global economic system associated with a 5-6 degree change to average global temperatures present such a crisis. The long term absolute value of the assets that we run will be significantly influenced by the value of the global economy. A clear and credible decarbonisation target would help address the climate problem before the economic disasters associated with a 5-6 degree change unfold.”  

Explaining the need for consistent targets for the solar industry, Pall Barwell CEO of the Solar Trade Association said: “The rate of cost reduction in solar power has been unprecedented. The solar industry wants an unequivocal commitment to meeting carbon targets because a stable policy framework allows us to invest most efficiently to drive further cost reductions. Furthermore solar is transforming ownership, competition and choice in the UK's consolidated electricity markets, something UK businesses and households need urgently.”

Dr Nina Skorupska, chief executive of the Renewable Energy Association concluded: “It is vital the Government plans for the long-term. Energy investment cycles are long-term by nature and so too are climate change impacts. The clearer the long-term policy framework, the more jobs and investment UK plc will secure both today and in the future in the growing global markets for renewable power, heat and transport. The best framework would combine carbon budgets based on the CCC’s advice with renewable energy targets to provide certainty for investors on the direction of travel.”

Lord Deben, the chairman of the CCC noted that its report shows there are clear economic benefits of acting to cut emissions during the 2020s, calling on the government to “confirm the budget as a matter of urgency”.