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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

fossil fuels.

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.

Yours ever,

Lord Deben

Chair, Climate Change Committee

Letter to Rish! Sunak from Lord Deben, Chairman of the Climate Change Committee

Download the Letter