Climate mitigation: UK budget cuts erode Paris promises

Journal name:
Date published:
Published online

Two weeks before the UK government signed up to keep global warming well below 2 °C at the 2015 United Nations climate summit in Paris, it announced a 22% budget cut for the Department of Energy and Climate Change. It also scrapped a previously ring-fenced £1-billion (US$1.5-billion) budget for developing carbon capture and storage. UK decarbonization targets might be unachievable without this technology.

In our view, these actions signal that the UK government does not treat climate action as a priority, and that it is ignoring the evidence of the research it funds. For example, data collected by the UK Met Office show that 2014 and 2015 have been the warmest years on record.

To regain credibility, the government must overcome internal division (N. Carter and B. Clements Br. Politics 10, 204225; 2015) and develop a robust climate policy that is in line with its stated ambitions.

Author information


  1. Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA.

    • Alexander C. Lees
  2. University of Cambridge, UK.

    • Andrew Balmford &
    • Ben Phalan

Corresponding author

Correspondence to:

Author details

Additional data