UK 'must step up emissions push'
The UK needs to triple its efforts towards cutting emissions and moving to a low-carbon economy by 2050, a report has warned.
The Climate Policy Tracker for the European Union (EU) by wildlife charity WWF and innovation company Ecofys revealed that EU countries, on average, are doing only a third of what is needed to cut emissions by between 80% and 95% by mid-century.
Researchers examined all EU countries on areas such as transport, buildings and renewables, giving them an overall grade of between A and G, and the UK scored only an "E" rating.
The grade means the UK is doing only a third of what is necessary to put the economy on track towards massively slashing greenhouse gases by 2050.
While the country is awarded a "best in class" B rating for its Climate Change Act, which was the first legislation in the world to set legally binding long-term targets for cutting emissions, the report says the UK lags behind other countries in a number of its climate policies.
According to the report, the UK trails behind Germany, Denmark, Ireland and Sweden on the overall steps it is taking to cut its emissions and move to a low-carbon economy.
The four best countries receive only a D rating, meaning they still need to double their efforts to put them on track to cutting emissions by the amount needed. Many countries lag even further behind, being given an F rating.
The study suggests the UK is being outstripped by countries including Denmark and Germany on renewables, by Ireland on energy efficiency and by France and the Czech Republic on cutting emissions associated with buildings.
Keith Allott, WWF-UK's head of climate change, said: "The UK, like all member states, needs to scan its full policy portfolios to address the weaknesses that show up in this report, especially in transport and energy efficiency."
Niklas Hohne, director of energy and climate policy at Ecofys, said: "Overall, the ratings are low. Support for renewable energy is most widely implemented across Europe and shows the most progress, whilst energy efficiency, transport and industry are lagging behind."