May’s tar­get for zero emis­sions by 2050

The Daily Telegraph - - Front Page - By Steven Swin­ford DEPUTY PO­LIT­I­CAL EDI­TOR

Theresa May will to­day set a legally bind­ing tar­get to cut green­house gases to “net zero” by 2050. The Gov­ern­ment will set out leg­is­la­tion after its cli­mate change ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee called for the new le­gal tar­get to be brought in as soon as pos­si­ble and to act ur­gently to cut emis­sions. The Prime Min­is­ter is push­ing ahead with the plans, de­spite a warn­ing by Philip Ham­mond that it will mean less money for schools, hos­pi­tals and the po­lice.

BRI­TAIN will to­day set a legally bind­ing tar­get to cut green­house gases to “net zero” by 2050, Theresa May has an­nounced.

The Gov­ern­ment will set out leg­is­la­tion to­day to slash emis­sions de­spite warnings from Philip Ham­mond that meet­ing the tar­get may cost £1tril­lion.

The move comes after the Gov­ern­ment’s ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee on cli­mate change called for the new le­gal tar­get to be brought in as soon as pos­si­ble and to ur­gently ramp up action to cut emis­sions.

Hit­ting net zero – a 100 per cent cut in emis­sions – will mean an end to heat­ing

‘Now is the time to go fur­ther and faster to safe­guard the en­vi­ron­ment for our chil­dren’

of homes with tra­di­tional gas boil­ers, more green elec­tric­ity, and a switch from petrol and diesel cars to elec­tric ve­hi­cles, walk­ing and cy­cling.

It could re­quire peo­ple to eat less meat and dairy and take fewer flights. Any re­main­ing pol­lu­tion in 2050 from ar­eas in­clud­ing avi­a­tion will need to be “off­set” through mea­sures to cut car­bon such as plant­ing trees.

Mrs May is push­ing ahead with the plans de­spite a stark warn­ing by the Chan­cel­lor that it will mean less money for schools, hos­pi­tals and the po­lice.

No 10 said the move would boost pub­lic health, air qual­ity and na­ture and will make the UK a leader on cli­mate action, as the first G7 group of ma­jor economies to put a net zero tar­get into law.

But it was “imperative” other coun­tries fol­low suit, so there will be a re­view within five years to en­sure other na­tions are tak­ing sim­i­larly am­bi­tious action, and that Bri­tish in­dus­tries are not fac­ing un­fair com­pe­ti­tion.

In the wake of wide­spread cli­mate strikes by school­child­ren and stu­dents, the Gov­ern­ment is also set­ting up a Youth Steer­ing Group for young peo­ple to ad­vise it on pri­or­i­ties for en­vi­ron­men­tal action.

Mrs May said: “As the first coun­try to leg­is­late for long-term cli­mate tar­gets, we can be truly proud of our record in tackling cli­mate change. We have made huge progress in grow­ing our econ­omy and the jobs mar­ket while slash­ing emis­sions. Now is the time to go fur­ther and faster to safe­guard the en­vi­ron­ment for our chil­dren.

“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.”

The Gov­ern­ment said it would re­tain the abil­ity to use in­ter­na­tional car­bon cred­its, which al­low the UK to pay to off­set its emis­sions else­where in the world.

Dame Carolyn Fair­bairn, di­rec­tor­gen­eral of the Con­fed­er­a­tion of Bri­tish In­dus­try, said UK com­pa­nies were “squarely be­hind” the com­mit­ment.

She said: “This leg­is­la­tion is the right re­sponse to the global cli­mate cri­sis, and firms are ready to play their part in com­bat­ing it. Cli­mate lead­er­ship can drive UK com­pet­i­tive­ness and se­cure long-term pros­per­ity.

“This leg­is­la­tion must be fol­lowed by a com­mit­ment to long-term poli­cies that sup­port de­car­bon­i­sa­tion across the econ­omy. Some sec­tors will need clear path­ways to en­able in­vest­ment in low-car­bon tech­nolo­gies.”

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