Landmark target would ‘end the UK’s contribution to climate change’
Earlier this month, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) released it’s report in response to the UK Government’s request sent in October 2018.
The report recommends that the UK should aim to cut its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.
The ambitious target would mean the UK would reach net-zero 20 years ahead of the global average.
What Does Net Zero Mean?
Net zero means that emissions are balanced – emissions put into the atmosphere must match the quantity taken from the atmosphere.
How Can The UK Reach Net Zero?
Whilst the CCC says that the new target is “necessary, feasible and cost-effective” significant action is needed to effect change. The report suggest:
- Phasing out petrol and diesel vehicles completely by 2035
- Planting 30,000 hectares of tree each year
- Better energy efficiency including low-carbon heating through out the UK’s building stock
- Developing carbon capture and storage technology
- Stopping biodegradable waste going to landfill
- Phasing-out potent fluorinated gases
- Reducing gas consumption by 32%
- Reducing oil consumption by 82%
The UK government isn’t under any obligation to act on the findings, but it commissioned the report following the release of the UN’s IPCC’s findings where it warned that the world had less than 12 years to slash emissions to avoid catastrophic effects of global warming. The CCC has recommended that the target should be put into law as soon as possible. Currently the UK has a target of curbing greenhouse gas emissions by 80%, compared to 1990 levels,by 2050.
The CCC report suggests that Scotland and Wales meet separate targets: A 2045 target for net zero as the country has “greater potential to remove pollution from its economy”. The CCC recommends that Wales aim for a 95% emissions reduction by 2050 due to its large sheep farming industry.
“A Serious Response”
The report was released in the same month that MPs approved a motion to declare an environment and climate emergency.
Lord Deben, Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change, said:
“We can all see that the climate is changing and it needs a serious response. The great news is that it is not only possible for the UK to play its full part – but it can be done within the cost envelope that Parliament has already accepted.”
“The Government should accept the recommendations and set about making the changes needed to deliver them without delay.”