Securing trailblazing legislation which set carbon emission targets into statute.
In 2018, Whitehouse was tasked by the Committee on Climate Change, to bring together a panel of influential stakeholders in the environment and energy sectors to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Climate Change Act. The Act itself was a trailblazer – one of the first pieces of legislation globally to set carbon emission targets into statute and many other administrations around the world followed suit.
Whitehouse identified the key questions to address at the panel were whether the target set in 2008 was still the gold standard; the government was doing enough to deliver a low carbon economy for the future; and what the government could be doing to cement itself as a world leader in this field. Whitehouse brought together a panel of influential figures from the last ten years to reflect on the Act’s successes and failures: Lord Deben, Chair of the Committee of Climate Change, Sir Edward Davey, Former Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Adam Vaughan, Energy Editor of the Guardian, Meryam Omi, Head of Sustainability and Responsible Investment Strategy at L&G Investment Management and the Bishop of Salisbury who leads on environmental affairs for the Church of England.
The panellists were unanimous in their conclusions that the UK was slipping on its current targets and that there needed to be more urgency from the government to deliver carbon emission improvements in sectors including transport, industry, infrastructure, and agriculture. A number of recommendations were made during the panel session and turned into a short report, which was fed into cabinet and junior ministers at the energy and environment departments. With the government consistently talking about the growing and innovative low carbon space, this event was successful in adding further pressure on the government to press ahead and take its foot off the brake.
The tenth anniversary of the Climate Change Act 2008 being given Royal Assent was significant; it acknowledged that this legislation had become the global gold standard in how best to set and deliver on targets for carbon reduction. That this was celebrated by such an informative and worthwhile parliamentary event, and on my own 80th birthday, was down to the organisational skills of the team at Whitehouse Communications.