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Climate Change Act 2008


The Climate Change Act 2008 is a landmark legislation passed by the United Kingdom Parliament, aimed at addressing the challenges of climate change and ensuring the country’s transition to a low-carbon economy. The Act is a legally binding framework that establishes the UK’s long-term targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating climate change. It sets out a comprehensive approach to achieving these targets through specific actions, policies, and reporting mechanisms.

The Act sets legally binding targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the UK. Initially, the target was a 34% reduction by 2020 compared to 1990 levels. It is important to note that in 2019, the UK government revised its target to achieve at least a 68% reduction by 2030, and a net-zero emissions target by 2050.

The Act also establishes a system of carbon budgets, which provide five-yearly limits on the amount of greenhouse gases the UK can emit during each budget period. The budgets are designed to ensure progress towards the long-term targets, with the first budget covering the period from 2008 to 2012.

Furthermore, the Act establishes the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) as an independent statutory body responsible for advising the UK government on emissions reduction targets, carbon budgets, and policies. The CCC regularly reviews progress and provides recommendations on actions to meet the targets.

Lastly, the Act emphasises the importance of adaptation to climate change impacts. It requires the government to prepare and publish a National Adaptation Programme. Companies and public bodies are required to report their greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to a transparent and accountable reporting framework.

The Climate Change Act was passed on the 6th of November 2008.

The Climate Change Act applies to the following countries:

  • United Kingdom; 
  • England; 
  • Scotland; 
  • Wales; and 
  • Northern Ireland. 

Does the Climate Change Act 2008 affect my business?

Because of the scope and nature of the Climate Change Act 2008, there will be a variety of impacts on different sectors.

With regard to energy and power generation, the Act has stimulated significant changes in the energy sector, encouraging a shift towards renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, and hydroelectric power. The closure of coal-fired power plants and the expansion of renewable energy capacity are key outcomes of the Act.

In the transportation industry, the Act has prompted measures to decarbonise transportation, including the promotion of electric vehicles, investment in public transport, and the development of low-carbon fuels. Policies such as the phasing out of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030 demonstrate the Act’s influence on the transportation sector.

With regard to buildings and infrastructure businesses, the Act has driven improvements in energy efficiency standards for buildings, encouraging the retrofitting of existing structures and the adoption of sustainable design practices. Initiatives like the Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) and stricter building regulations contribute to reducing emissions from the built environment.

Lastly, in terms of general business and industry, the Act has prompted businesses to adopt sustainable practices and reduce their carbon footprint through energy efficiency measures, renewable energy adoption, and emissions reporting. Sector-specific regulations and incentives have been implemented to encourage emission reductions across industries.

Therefore, if your business falls under the spectrum of any of these sectors, you will be affected by the Climate Change Act 2008.

Do I need the Climate Change Act 2008 in my ISO Compliance Register?

You will need the Climate Change Act 2008 in your ISO Compliance Register as it affects all organisations, due to far-reaching provisions and consequences in order to reduce the impact of climate change and manage adaptations to it.

Legislation related to the Climate Change Act 2008

Legislation related to the Climate Change Act 2008 includes:

  • Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009
  • The Climate Change Levy (General) Regulations 2001
  • The Climate Change (Targeted Greenhouse Gases) Order 2023

More information

Visit the Climate Change Act 2008 article on the website.

Create an account in the ISO Compliance Register App and add this article to your Register.