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Electric cars and green homes needed by 2030 to meet UK’s climate targets advisors say

The UK’s legal targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions will not be met unless at least three-fifths of new cars and vans purchased are electric by 2030 according to government climate advisers.

New homes should also be being built to more energy-efficient standards to save people money on their bills and reduce emissions, they said.

A report from the Committee on Climate Change warned the government’s “clean growth strategy”, published in October, did not go far enough to meet targets to cut greenhouse gases by the 2020s and 2030s under UK law.

Last year energy consulting firm DNV GL predicted that electric vehicles will fall in price over the coming years and will reach parity with combustion vehicles by 2022. 

They said this was a key trigger that will mean by 2035 half of all passenger vehicles sold globally will be electric.

The report called for more firm policies and action, from incentives for “able to pay” householders to install energy efficiency measures to speeding up tree-planting to create 70,000 hectares (173,000 acres) of new woodlands by 2025.

Lord Deben, the committee’s chairman, said housebuilders, car companies and oil and gas firms should “step up” to play more of a role in the shift to a cleaner economy.

He said the strategy showed clean growth was now a “central part of the government’s economic policy”.

But he warned: “The government’s policies and proposals will need to be firmed up as a matter of urgency - and supplemented with additional measures if the UK is to deliver on its legal commitments and secure its position as an international climate change leader.”

He also said: “I think that the time has come for us to remind industry in many of these areas they have a real part to play.

“If you’re going to sell an electric car your dealers have to be very well aware, have got to understand these things, so training dealers is essential.

“If you’re running a big fossil fuel company, you have to start thinking about the realities of when, not if, because it is not if any longer, we use a lot less fossil fuels.”

Oil and gas businesses should be investing more in technology to capture and store carbon emissions from power plants and industry, without which the cost of cutting greenhouse gases from the economy will be more expensive, the committee said.

Lord Deben also criticised construction firms for only doing the “absolute minimum” required on building energy efficient homes, saying the “people who suffer” from homes that are not properly insulated are the buyers who have to pay higher energy bills.

The government should also tighten standards for new-build and rented properties, the committee said.

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