The UK needs to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 57 per cent by 2030 in order to meet its long-term climate change goals, government advisers have warned.
Such cuts would ensure that the UK stays on track to meet its target to reduce emissions by 80 per cent relative to 1990 levels by mid-century.
The UK has already reduced emissions by 36 per cent on 1990 levels, but data from the Department of Energy and Climate Change shows that the country is unlikely to meet the 52 per cent cut put in law for the fourth carbon budget, unless further cuts are made.
Speaking of the changes needed to ensure such reductions, the chairman of the Committee on Climate Change, Lord Deben, said that people's lifestyles would not need to be affected.
“The fundamental thing is to enable people to lead their lives, to have their lights and their televisions and their gizmos and everything else and go to work, and have their leisure in a way that doesn't destroy the planet,” he said.
Keeping the cuts cost-effective would require changes across sectors, beginning at home, with insulation installed in the majority of UK houses, and around one in seven houses fitted with low carbon heat sources by the 2030s. The majority of imported cars and vans would also need to be fully or partially electric by this time.
Changes are also required in the electricity and power sectors, with pledges to move away from the use of polluting oil and gas. The UK's electricity sector would need to commit to moving towards low-carbon sources of energy, such as nuclear and renewables, or power plants fitted with technology to capture their carbon.
Lord Deben stressed that the Government needs to fully commit to the emissions reduction in order to send clear long-term signals to investors that the country is still dedicated to tackling climate change.
The UK Government has come under fire in recent months for rolling back policies designed to support renewables and energy efficiency measures. Such moves, the CBI warned, may have sent out a “worrying signal", harming investor confidence in backing low-carbon technologies in the UK.