UK commits to zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050

Prime minister Theresa May has announced that the UK will end its net contribution to climate change by 2050, compared with 1990 levels, making the UK the first G7 country to legislate for net zero carbon emissions.

 A Statutory Instrument will amend the Climate Change Act 2008 to add the target date. 

This announcement follows advice from the government’s independent advisory body, the Committee on Climate Change, which has said that to keep our Paris Agreement target of 1.5°C, we must achieve net zero CO2 contributions from every part of our economy.

The largest contributions to UK greenhouse gas emissions currently come from heating, transport, electricity production and agriculture. The achievement of net zero targets may rely on the development of carbon capture and storage technology.

The government says it is imperative that other major economies follow suit, and for that reason, the UK will conduct a further assessment within five years of implementing the new legislation to confirm that other countries are taking similarly ambitious action.

Theresa May will meet young science and engineering students to discuss the new target and what must be done to achieve it, as well as to gain views on the progress of existing climate, waste and biodiversity commitments.

“As the first country to legislate for long-term climate targets, we can be truly proud of our record in tackling climate change,” said May. “This country led the world in innovation during the Industrial Revolution, and now we must lead the world to a cleaner, greener form of growth.

“Standing by is not an option. Reaching net zero by 2050 is an ambitious target, but it is crucial that we achieve it to ensure we protect our planet for future generations.”

Image credit | Shutterstock 
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