The U.K.’s Committee on Climate Change says more needs to be done to get down to the government’s 2025 greenhouse-gas emissions target, but praises the efforts of the country’s automotive industry in tackling climate change.

The committee’s progress report to Parliament shows total emissions increased 3% in 2010, mainly as a result of a colder winter. After adjusting for weather impacts, emissions largely were flat.

“A significant acceleration in the pace of emissions reductions is therefore required,” the committee says.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders says that despite the poor result, the report highlights the “good progress” being made within the U.K.’s automotive industry, which has seen new-car carbon-dioxide emissions fall more than 20% since 2000 to 144.2 g/km in 2010.

SMMT CEO Paul Everitt says that, while there is still more to do, the report shows the automotive industry is making gains.

“Investment in low- and ultra-low-carbon vehicle technologies has delivered impressive reductions in CO2 emissions, but sustained action, to support research and development, new infrastructure and consumer incentives will be essential if we are to sustain and improve the rate of progress,” he says in a statement.

The CCC says the 2009-2010 Scrappage Incentive Scheme, coupled with ongoing investment in low-carbon technologies across the sector, helped lower emissions.

“Since then, the industry has continued to drive down emissions, leading to the lowest ever new-car CO2 level, with the first quarter of 2011 recording just 140.2 g/km CO2,” the report says.

“This significantly outperforms our indicator for new-car emissions in 2010. Whether this is sustainable progress towards the 95 g/km target in 2020, or a transitory effect of the recession and rising oil prices, will need to be closely monitored.”

The CCC says cars purchased under the scrappage scheme averaged 133.3 g/km in CO2 emissions.

“However, these accounted for only around 14% of new cars purchased,” it says. “The remaining 86% of new cars purchased outside the scrappage scheme, with average (CO2) emissions of 152.2 g/km, also showed significant emission reductions.”

The CCC says the efficiency improvement was due to new models coming to market and changes in purchasing patterns, such as consumers buying best-in-class cars or switching between classes.

While further reductions will become increasingly difficult to achieve through advances in engine technology, the industry is introducing driver-behavior aids such as gearshift indicators and interactive driver-monitoring software to maintain the downward trend in emissions, Everitt says.

SMMT’s New Car CO2 report, published earlier this year, demonstrates the automotive industry’s transition to low and ultra-low carbon vehicles, he says.

Last year, almost 40% of new cars registered emitted less than 130g/km CO2, which is the European fleet emissions target for 2015.

The CCC is an independent body established under the Climate Change Act to advise the government on emissions targets and to report to Parliament on greenhouse-gas emission reductions.