The Environment (Wales) Act 2016 introduces a duty on Welsh Government to develop carbon budgets for Wales, and to reduce emissions by at least 80% by 2050.

This is a considerable challenge as over 50% of emissions are produced by a small number of industrial sites (e.g. Tata steel, Port Talbot and Aberthaw power station).

We have supported, challenged and provided forums for practical sharing of good practice to assist public bodies in moving towards decarbonisation.

The Commissioner has also:

– Held an event called ‘Leading positive action on climate change – delivering a carbon neutral Welsh public sector by 2030’ with Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales.  Attended by 60 public sector leaders, its purpose was to establish a conversation across the Welsh public sector on the delivery of the decarbonisation ambition for Wales.

– Highlighted the good work achieved by Natural Resources Wales Carbon Positive Project and encouraged organisations to learn from this approach and share case studies with us on an ongoing basis.

– Encouraged public bodies to look wider at carbon savings through transport and buildings, and to realise the potential benefits of decarbonisation to community cohesion and tackling poverty etc.

– Written to the chairs of all local government pension funds and other public bodies (the eleven local authorities with the largest pension funds invested in fossil fuels), asking them to confirm how their decisions 

are considering the long-term and climate risk (encouraging them to divest).

– Challenged the Government on carbon targets which should be included in the procurement of the South Wales Metro.

– Shared good practice about well-being objectives which contribute to decarbonisation in my report on Well-being in Wales: the journey so far – 23 different public organisations have set objectives relating to energy.

– Supported the work of National Energy Action and the Fuel Poverty Coalition with public services boards.

– Supported the Institute of Welsh Affairs Re-energising Wales project whose vision is for Wales to meet 100% of its energy demand from renewables by 2035.

– Delivered two Zero Carbon Wales workshops in partnership with the Wales Council for Voluntary Action and Centre for Alternative Technology.

 

The Commissioner has also challenged the Welsh Government to clearly demonstrate their commitment across Government to carbon reduction.  We have provided assistance to the Welsh Government’s decarbonisation team specifically on proposals for the Low Carbon Delivery Plan that will contribute to the seven well-being goals.  

This has led to:

– A policy commitment from the Cabinet Secretary for the public sector to be carbon neutral by 2030. I will continue to work with Welsh Government and others to work out how this commitment can be achieved in reality.  

– The Welsh Government developing a matrix to use as part of their well-being appraisal process to ensure that their Low Carbon Delivery Plan is framed within the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act at the start of policy development (this is a significant step forward from the traditional impact

– The Welsh Government aligning their financial budget cycles with their carbon budgets which means that decisions about where money is spent can have a greater focus on achieving carbon reduction targets.

They are the only government in the UK to do so.

– The advice given to the Welsh Government by the UK Committee on Climate Change reflecting the Act by not only considering cost effective pathways for emission reduction but also the wider opportunities to improve well-being