An image of Wales from Space
An image of Wales from Space

This statement updates the Senedd on our latest greenhouse gas emissions data, the publication of our latest Climate Change Engagement Plan and the Welsh Public Sector Net Zero: Baseline and Recommendations Report.

The Welsh Government recognises the challenges currently facing our communities.  In this context, we need to hold especially close to our values and guiding principles. The Programme for Government set out how social justice and tackling the climate emergency were going to be at the heart of our actions over the term of this Senedd and it is on this latter issue that I wish to update members today.

This is an important year and the emissions data released today (Reports – NAEI, UK (beis.gov.uk), shows we have likely met our first carbon budget (2016-2020) and 2020 target. In 2020 Welsh greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduced by 40% compared to our baseline year, exceeding our 2020 interim target of a 27% reduction. For our first carbon budget we set a legal target of achieving an average reduction of 23%. This equates to total emissions over CB1 of 213 MTCO2e. The latest data confirms CB1 emissions were 199 MTCO2e, and we are likely to have outperformed our target by 13.7 MTCO2e (an average reduction of 28% over CB1).

These figures are based on the raw data published today and provide an indication of likely performance. The full Net Welsh Emissions Account, upon which our legal targets are based will be published in our legislative Statement of Progress, in December, transparently showing the analysis of the data, the final carbon accounting choices and progress in relation to our first Plan Prosperity for All: A Low Carbon Wales. The Statement will also take a broader view, providing the first assessment of the emissions not just generated in Wales, but generated by Wales through the goods and services we consume. Only by considering this broader picture and shouldering our global responsibility can we truly protect our precious world for future generations.

However globally, more needs to be done. The latest IPCC reports, authored and agreed by scientists across 195 countries, tell us that more action is needed and the inaction on the climate and nature emergencies will cost us far more dearly in the long term. The 2020s must be the decade of action, reducing emissions more in this decade than in any previous ten year period will be an uphill challenge and we may need to take difficult choices, so we do not jeopardise the wellbeing of our future generations.

Government cannot tackle this challenge alone and in October we set out our all-Wales plan, Net Zero Wales (Carbon budget 2, 2021-2025) to show how everyone needed to play their part. The plan set out 123 policies and proposals from Government alongside the commitments and action we need to see from business, from communities and from the UK Government. Delivery is already underway with the roads review due to report later this year, with the white paper on the future of buses published, a consultation on the future of the Warm Homes programme completed and two horticultural schemes implemented. In the Plan, we also committed to publishing a revised stakeholder Engagement Plan, which I am pleased to launch today.

The new Engagement Plan will further increase the momentum building throughout Wales, strengthening collaboration on all areas of climate change action – both emissions reduction and climate adaptation. The Engagement Plan is designed to ensure timely and effective engagement of stakeholders on matters of climate change, by highlighting policy engagement opportunities and consultations, seeking input from those closest to the reality of the issues at hand. It is also designed to strengthen the coalition of Team Wales as we tackle the climate emergency, promoting the Pledge Campaign and four Calls to Action so that everyone can see and share the part they have to play.

In all of this, it is important that the Welsh Government and the public sector show leadership. Today I am also pleased to publish, in line with the commitment made in Net Zero Wales, the very first Welsh Public Sector Net Zero: Baseline and Recommendations Report, which estimates the full range of emissions both direct and induced by the public sector in delivering services for the people of Wales.  This landmark report summarises the data and findings from the first year of voluntary reporting across the public sector, helping us to deepen our understanding of the sector in tackling the climate emergency. This new evidence base will be critical in unlocking the actions that deliver a more prosperous Wales alongside a cleaner, greener Wales, using every pound of public money to pursue the twin goals of this Welsh Government. I would like to recognise the commitment demonstrated by the majority of public bodies in Wales in delivering this milestone, and urge the health boards, local authorities, universities, fire services, National Parks and other public bodies in scope to work with Welsh Government to drive out emissions alongside improving the delivery of essential services to the citizens of Wales.

While the journey to a climate resilient, decarbonised Welsh nation will be long and filled with tough choices, today marks a positive step on the way to a cleaner, stronger and more prosperous Wales

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