Rt Hon Prime Minister
10 Downing Street
Date 28 June 2023
Dear Prime Minister,
Please find attached the Climate Change Committee’s 2023 Progress Report to
Parliament, my last as Chairman, which is laid in Parliament today.
In it, we look back at the UK’s warmest year on record when, in the minds of
many people, climate change truly arrived. Last summer’s record-breaking
heatwave caused unprecedented numbers of heat-related deaths, wildfires,
and significant disruption. During your premiership, you will no doubt want to
lead the UK’s response to future climate-related extreme weather events.
Throughout my 11-year term, my Committee has held every Government’s feet
to the fire on tackling climate change. It has been our role to ensure they make
good on the legal commitments set out in the Climate Change Act and in the
subsequent legislation which reflects the UK’s international obligations.
Every June, the law demands that the CCC presents to Parliament our honest
and evidence-based assessment of how well the UK is doing to reduce emissions.
This has not always been an easy message for the Government and I appreciate
the openness and integrity with which it has been received over the years.
My final assessment is this:
The failure to act decisively in response to the energy crisis and build on the
success of hosting COP26 means that the UK has lost its clear global climate
leadership while game-changing interventions from the US and Europe, which
will turbocharge growth of renewables, are leaving the UK behind. Inaction has
been compounded by continuing support for further unnecessary investment in
The Government must act urgently to correct the failures of the past year – it
cannot wait until the next General Election. I have to ask you directly to heed the
advice in the CCC’s report and reclaim the UK’s clear climate leadership role.
Our children will not forgive us if we leave them a world of withering heat and
devastating storms where sea level rises and extreme temperatures force millions
to move because their countries are no longer habitable. None of us can avoid
our responsibility. Delay is not an option.
Chair, Climate Change Committee