ClimateCare’s Edward Hanrahan and Prof Alastair Driver of Rewilding Britain met senior advisers at No. 10 today to call for an economy-wide measure to tackle climate change. We are calling for a UK carbon market to catalyze Natural Climate Solutions – cutting carbon, and restoring ecosystems.

The 2008 Climate Change Act commits the UK to five legally binding carbon budgets. Despite rapid initial progress and overachievement of the first of these, a substantial gap now exists between current policy and the needs of the 4th and 5th carbon budgets. A key opportunity to close existing policy gaps and support an ambitious 2050 visions exists in the land sector, as highlighted by a recent report from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC). The CCC call for increased mitigation efforts in this sector to include the creation of up to 1.5 million hectares of new woodland by 2050 and the restoration of natural habitats on land released from agriculture. The CCC estimate this could reduce 20-40 MtCO2e per annum by 2050.

Funding these Natural Climate Solutions through an incentivised domestic carbon market would provide a major contribution to closing the UK’s existing climate mitigation policy gap, at minimal cost to the taxpayer, and using an approach which can provide additional benefit to local communities and the natural environment.

Our organisations have come together to propose this economy-wide Polluter Pays market based system to place a real price on carbon. By bringing much needed private sector funding to farmers and landowners implementing natural climate measures, this will lower the cost to the taxpayer of climate change mitigation and help protect biodiversity and the rural economy.