Wales is well placed to play a leading role as we move to a global low carbon economy, according to a new report published today (January 31st, 2012).
The first Annual Report of the Climate Change Commission for Wales, which seeks to advise Welsh Government on climate change, highlights the many benefits a clear and consistent strategic approach will have beyond tackling climate change.
These include, amongst others, secure long-term energy supplies, better air quality, more comfortable homes and numerous opportunities for businesses which are developing products and services using low carbon technologies to thrive.
However, the Annual Report, which follows closely after the recent publication of the Climate Change Risk Assessment for Wales - produced as part of the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA) – says Welsh Government faces a number of key challenges that require urgent and collective action.
Amongst these challenges are:
• Continuous delivery against difficult decisions to ensure low carbon and other requirements are given priority within current investment programmes;
• The need for early and coordinated action as the low carbon, resilient economy is being developed;
• All sectors of society need to understand and embrace their collective responsibility to deliver the Climate Change Strategy;
• The progress being made needs to be measured regularly and assessed against agreed targets;
• The requirement for structural change within public and private sector organisations, the way technology is developed and how organisations and communities respond.
Peter Davies, Chair of the Climate Change Commission, and Commissioner for Sustainable Futures, said: “With only around one third of emissions reductions within the Climate Change Strategy for Wales expected to come from policies solely under the control of Welsh Government, we need urgent, radical and sustained action from all sectors of society.
“Welsh Government is already demonstrating that it is on the right path towards tackling climate change and annual reduction targets are comparable with the more ambitious reduction plans globally.
“However, it is essential that we not only ensure these targets are delivered, but that the ambition levels of these targets are kept under review.”
He added: “In ensuring this, the Climate Change Strategy must be set in the context of our commitment to sustainable development.
“It must be delivered in a way that promotes social justice and recognises that those most vulnerable will be hardest hit by climate change impacts.”
In addition to its advisory role to Welsh Government, the Climate Change Commission is also tasked with mobilising action, building consensus across different industry sectors and scrutinising and reporting on progress to date.
In taking this forward, the Commission makes a number of key recommendations to Welsh Government including:
1. Develop and communicate a coherent strategic approach to adaptation;
2. Show clear and consistent leadership on the work in the low carbon spatial plan;
3. Prioritise communities, infrastructure and business and tourism Sectoral Adaptation Programmes (SAPs);
4. Implement clear performance measures against each SAP; and
5. Support the delivery of low carbon projects (renewables, transport infrastructure) and coherent regional planning around transport, housing and employment to maximise climate change outcomes.
The Climate Change Commission for Wales’ Annual Report 2011 was written by the Climate Change Commission for Wales with the support of CAG Consultants Consortium, led by CAG Consultants working with Collingwood Environmental Planning Limited, URS Scott Wilson, Wavehill Consulting Limited, and Resources for Change.
A scheme designed to bring about long-term changes in behaviour and lifestyle to help reduce Wales’ greenhouse gas emissions and help organisations and communities adapt to the impacts of climate change.