United Kingdom

United Kingdom Country Profile (World Bank)

Status under International Climate Change Law

  • UNFCCC: signature and ratification (8 Dec 1993)
  • KP: signature and ratification (31 May 2002)
    • Quantified emission limitation or reduction commitment: -8
  • Vienna Convention: signature and ratification (15 May 1987)
  • Montreal Protocol: signature and ratification (16 Dec 1988)
  • LRTAP: signature and ratification (15 Jul 1982) as well as signature and ratification of 1984, 1988, 1991, 1994, 1998 (both) and 1999 Protocols
  • Energy Charter: signature and ratification (13 Dec 1996)
  • Energy Efficiency Protocol: signature and ratification (13 Dec 1996)
  • Espoo Convention: signature and ratification (10 Oct 1997)
  • 2030 Commitment: 40% domestic reduction in emissions below 1990 levels by 2030, to be fulfilled jointly by European Union member states (16% reduction in domestic emissions below 2005 levels by 2020, in accordance with Decision No. 406/2009/EC of the European Parliament and Council)
    • INDC summary – includes LULUCF and gases covered (Center for Climate and Energy Solutions 2015)
    • INDC summary – includes adaptation and conditions for implementation (Climate Policy Observer 2016)

Federal Laws on Climate Change


  • Climate Change Act (2020 Target, Credit Limit and Definitions) (2008) [English]
  • Climate Change Levy (2001) to apply to electricity, gas, solid fuel and liquid gases used for lighting, heating and power in the business and public sectors. [English]

Air Protection


  • Energy Act 2011 (18 October 2011) to tackle barriers to energy efficiency, enhance energy security, and enable investment in low carbon energy supplies. [English]
  • Energy Act (2010) [English]
  • Energy Act (2008) to update energy legislation and enable the introduction of feed-in tariffs. [English]
  • Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Act (2006) [English]
  • Energy Act (2004) to set up the energy framework for the United Kingdom. [English]
  • Bio-energy Capital Grants Scheme (2002) to support biomass-fuelled heat, and combined heat and power projects in the industrial, commercial and community sectors. [English]


Environmental Impact Assessment


National Plans, Programs and Initiatives

  • Climate Change Programme (2006) to outline all UK policies and programmes in place to tackle climate change. [English]
  • Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (2008, amended 2009 and 2010) to oblige energy suppliers to achieve targets for promoting reductions in carbon emissions in the household sector. [English]
  • Climate Change Agreements (2001) to allow energy intensive business users to receive an 80% discount from the Climate Change Levy, in return for meeting energy efficiency or carbon saving targets. [English]
  • Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme (April 2010) to improve energy efficiency and cut emissions in large public and private sector organisations. [English]
  • Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP) (2009) to improve energy standards in households across Great Britain and reduce fuel bills. [English]
  • Renewable Energy Strategy (2009) to outline how the United Kingdom will meet its legally binding target to ensure 15% of energy comes from renewable energy sources by 2020. [English]
  • Low Carbon Transition Plan (2009) to outline how the British economy will be transformed to ensure the UK meets its emission reduction targets, secure its energy supplies for the future, maximize economic opportunity for jobs, skills and investment. [English]
  • Low Carbon Transport Innovation Strategy (2007) to set out a wide range of actions that the UK is taking to encourage innovation and technology development in lower carbon transport technologies. [English]
  • Renewables Obligation (2002) to create a mechanism for supporting large-scale generation of renewable electricity. [English]
  • Preferential Tax Regimes for Biofuels (2002) to implement a reduced excise duty rate for biodiesel and bioethanol. [English]
  • Company Car Tax Reform (2002) to revise the UK Company Car Tax system to be carbon-based. [English]
  • Energy Efficiency Commitment 2002-2005 (2002) to encourage customers to make domestic energy efficient improvements. [English]

Local, State, and Regional Legislation and Initiatives

Government Documents

Additional Resources 


Updated as of: December 2013