UK sets ambitious new climate target ahead of UN Summit

A new plan aims for at least 68% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the decade, compared to 1990 levels. The Prime Minister has today (Friday 4 December) announced a new ambitious target to reduce the UK’s emissions by at least 68% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. Recognising the urgency to go further to tackle climate change, the UK’s new target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – our Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Climate Agreement – is among the highest in the world and commits the UK to cutting emissions at the fastest rate of any major economy so far.  Today’s target is the first set by the UK following its departure from the EU, demonstrating the UK’s leadership in tackling climate change. Over the past decade, the UK has cut carbon emissions by more than any similar developed country and was the first major economy to legislate for net zero emissions by 2050. Click here to read more

Carbon Brief Commentary

BUT    The National Audit Office (NAO) report highlights the difficulties and challenges of doing this

Achieving net zero – NAO Report

Achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions in the UK is a colossal challenge and government will need to spearhead a concerted national effort if it is to reach its goal by 2050, according to today’s report from the National Audit Office (NAO).

In June 2019, government passed legislation committing it to achieving ‘net zero’ greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This is significantly more challenging than government’s previous target to reduce emissions by 80% compared to 1990 levels by 2050. Between 2008 and 2018, the UK’s emissions reduced by 28%, faster than any other G20 economy. But without further action, the UK’s emissions are projected to exceed government’s targets for the years 2023 to 2027 and 2028 to 2032, though government plans to announce policies aimed at closing these gaps. Even faster progress is going to be needed to get to net zero by 2050, including changes to the way electricity is generated, how people travel, how land is used and how buildings are heated.

The all-encompassing nature of achieving net zero means that all government bodies, including departments, arm’s-length bodies and executive agencies have a role to play. Drawing on past experience, the NAO shows there are risks to cross-government arrangements that need to be considered carefully, such as ensuring individual departments give net zero sufficient priority and that there are the necessary skills across government. Government has not clearly set out the roles of public bodies outside central departments, despite many, including local authorities, playing critical roles in the achievement of net zero.

Read the report Achieving Net Zero here 4-December -2020

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