Climate Change Commission says Wales on right path, but more action needed

Wales is "on the right path" towards tackling climate change, but the Welsh government needs to do more to target additional emissions, a report says.

The Climate Change Commission for Wales has set out 37 recommendations in its first annual report.

The body, which advises the Welsh government on climate change, wants to see houses being made more energy efficient and businesses to go green.

But one business says there is no clear agenda. The Welsh government deny this.

"There are 30-plus recommendations but the big message is the low carbon economy," said Peter Davies, the climate change commissioner for Wales.

"It delivers jobs, it delivers reduced energy needs, it reduces CO2 emissions and that is really where the focus should be.

"CBI (Confederation of British Industry) and Federation of Small Businesses are very clear on the commission that that is a very real weakness in how we're tackling the transition to a low carbon economy."

He added: "It's almost because of the economic climate that we've got to respond.

"Saving energy saves jobs. Secondly, if we're investing in low carbon development that's creating jobs, so that I think, is the big opportunity for us."

But Andrew Jones, managing director for S&C Electric Europe Ltd, based in Swansea, said the Welsh government needs to give a clear message that clarifies what the market potential of low carbon.

'Clear agenda'

"The Scottish government have a clear agenda, it's very visible, they're doing their best to incentivise people to put renewables in.

"In Wales at the moment, although I see all the figures coming out, I'd be hard-pressed to tell you what really the Welsh assembly government's targets are or what really they can achieve.

"One of the problems that we have is a lot of people when they see government policies automatically think this is going to cost us something and in a time where investment is sensitive, jobs are very sensitive.

"If you're managing your electricity consumption, you're managing your travel and the amount that you take to dispatch your goods, if you manage that properly, you can reduce your costs in the business.

Environment Minister John Griffiths denied it was difficult for businesses to start up going green in Wales.

He said: "I think we have a very good system in Wales to allow for economic development."

But he said there was "always room for improvement" and the plan for a single environment body with a "streamlined, user-friendly approach" was the step forward."

Mr Griffiths feels the joined-up approach of merging the Countryside Council for Wales, the Environment Agency and the Forestry Commission in Wales will make it easier for individuals and businesses to understand environment regulations in Wales.

Later, the minister will also explain during plenary in the Senedd the Welsh implications of the first Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA) report that's been published by the UK Government.

It highlights the top 100 climate change challenges facing the UK for the rest of the 21st century.

The Welsh government are co-funders of the report and over its three year development ensured that Welsh issues were taken into account.

The report addresses all areas of Welsh life that will be affected by a changing climate.

In March, Mr Griffiths will publish the first climate change strategy for Wales annual report.

This will provide an update on the action the Welsh government is taking to address the causes and consequences of climate change.

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