The UK government on 30 June set a fifth carbon budget aimed at cutting carbon dioxide emissions by almost 57% by 2032 compared with 1990 levels. The UK ultimately aims to cut the emissions by 80% by 2050, according to the 2008 Climate Change Act. This requires the government to set legally-binding carbon budgets, which limit emissions for consecutive five-year periods. The budgets are designed to put emission reductions on an appropriate and cost-effective path to meeting the 2050 target.
The first three budgets were set in May 2009, following advice from the independent Committee on Climate Change (CCC). The first (2008 to 2012), set maximum net emissions at 3,018m tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e), a 25% reduction on 1990 levels. The second (2013-2017) limits emission to 2,782m tCO2e (a 30% reduction), and the third (2018-2022) restricts emissions to 2,544m tCO2e (a 36% reduction). The fourth budget (2022-2027) was set in May 2011 and limits emissions to 1,950m tCO2e (a 51% reduction).
The Department of Energy and Climate Change has now announced that the fifth carbon budget (2028 to 2032) has now been set based on advice from CCC, which recommended emissions should be limited to 1,765m tCO2e, taking into account for the first time emissions from international shipping.
However, the government concluded "it is not appropriate to include international shipping emissions given [that] negotiations through the International Maritime Organization have not yet been completed". It has therefore set the fifth budget at 1,725m tCO2e, which is 56.9% below 1990 levels.