May’s target for zero emissions by 2050
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.”