UK enshrines new 2035 target to cut emissions by 78%

The government has announced a new milestone target on the UK’s journey to net zero emissions, described as the “most ambitious target to cut emissions in the world”.

The target raises the bar on the UK’s existing commitments by legally requiring the government to bring the UK more than three quarters of the way to net zero emissions compared to 1990 levels in less than 15 years. For comparison, UK emissions were 41 per cent lower than 1990 levels in 2019.

The announcement brings the government’s ambitions into line with the recommendations of the independent Climate Change Committee (CCC) for the UK’s sixth ‘carbon budget’, which sets a legally binding cap on the emissions that can be emitted between 2033 and 2037.

£50 billion shopping list

The CCC has published a detailed report on what will be required to meet the new target. An annual investment of around £50 billion - mostly from the private sector - will be required per year by 2030 in areas such as electric vehicles, energy efficient buildings, power generation and tree planting. If delivered, this investment could create up to 1.7 million green jobs this decade.

The sixth carbon budget also marks the first time the government has included emissions from international aviation and shipping in its commitments. According to the government, it is the most ambitious legally binding climate change target in the world.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We want to continue to raise the bar on tackling climate change. The UK will be home to pioneering businesses, new technologies and green innovation as we make progress to net zero emissions.”

“We want to see world leaders follow our lead and match our ambition in the run up to the crucial climate summit COP26.

Global leadership

The Prime Minister was speaking ahead of a special climate summit convened by US President Joe Biden to mark Earth Day on 22 April.

At the summit, President Biden described the 2020s as the “decisive decade” for tackling climate change and announced a goal to cut the US’ emissions by 50-52 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. Over 300 chief executives of the world’s biggest companies had signed an open letter ahead of the summit calling on the President to set the new target.

Meanwhile, the EU announced a new 2030 target to reduce the bloc’s emissions by at least 55 per cent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

‘Every choice we make must be the right one’

The challenge for the UK government is now to back up its new world-leading target with ambitious new policies.

The CCC’s chief executive, Chris Stark, said: “Now we have set this goal in law, government, business and people up and down the country can throw their full weight behind the actions needed to get us there. It means that every choice we make from now must be the right one for our climate.”



Posted under General Interest and Environmental Regulations and Legislation on 28 April 2021