Radical new climate change commitments are to become law in the UK, Boris Johnson will announce this week. The prime minister will say carbon emissions will be cut by 78% by 2035 – almost 15 years earlier than previously planned – which would be a world-leading position. And for the first time the climate law would be extended to cover international aviation and shipping. But Labour said the government had to match “rhetoric with reality”. It urged Mr Johnson to treat “the climate emergency as the emergency it is” and show “greater ambition”. The government has accepted the advice of its independent Climate Change Committee (CCC) to adopt the emissions cut, which is based on 1990 levels. The move comes as US President Joe Biden prepares to stage a climate summit from Washington. For households the UK targets will lead to more electric cars, low-carbon heating, renewable electricity and, for many, cutting down on meat and dairy produce. Homes will need to be much better insulated, and people will be encouraged to drive less and walk and cycle more. Aviation is likely to become more expensive for frequent fliers.
BBC 19th April 2021 read more »
FT 19th April 2021 read more »
Independent 20th April 2021 read more »
Boris Johnson is set to announce plans to cut Britain’s carbon emissions at a steeper rate than previously envisaged ahead of the UK’s hosting of the COP26 climate summit later this year. The Prime Minister is said to be preparing to unveil a new target to reduce emissions by 78 per cent by 2035 compared with 1990 levels later this week. The UK’s current pledge to reduce emissions by 68 per cent by 2030 is already among the most ambitious set by any developed nation. On Monday night, Whitehall sources said that Mr Johnson was due to unveil the new target before Joe Biden, the US President, hosts a climate summit of international leaders on Thursday. It comes after the Climate Change Committee said in December last year that the more radical target was necessary for the UK to hit its overarching aim of reaching net zero by 2050.
Telegraph 20th April 2021 read more »
Scotsman 20th April 2021 read more »
Green Alliance: Government ‘complacency’ risks UK’s net-zero transition. That is according to a new policy tracker published today (20 April) by think-tank Green Alliance. According to the report, emissions from the UK’s power sector were equivalent to 21% of the national annual total in 1990, but just 11% in 2021. Analysts attribute this trend to the successful phase-out of coal power and the growth of renewables – particularly offshore wind. The UK’s last coal-fired electricity plants must come offline by 2024. Previous reports have shown that transport, which has decarbonised far slower, overtook power generation as the UK’s most-emitting sector in 2016. This report re-emphasises this trend but also tracks similarly slow progress in transport, agriculture, land use and the built environment – the latter, mainly due to embodied carbon and fossil-based heating. Unless more is done to accelerate the low-carbon transition in these sectors – which are believed to be harder to tackle than electricity – the UK’s annual emissions in 2030 will be 40% higher than the level needed to deliver the net-zero transition. Green Alliance points to several potential reasons for slow progress and ways to turn the tide. While reiterating calls for a more joined-up approach between departments, the report also urges Ministers to decide on bold interim climate targets as a matter of urgency. It puts forward the case for a commitment to reduce emissions by 68% by 2030, against a 1990 baseline, and to respond to the Climate Change Committee’s Sixth Carbon Budget recommendations. Published late last year, the recommendations explain how the UK could cut emissions by 78% by 2035, again, against 1990 levels.
Edie 19th April 2021 read more »
Green Alliance’s latest tracker of government climate policy shows that, following a decade of hard-won carbon reductions (which should rightly be celebrated), unless there’s a serious step-change in climate action, the UK’s emissions may start to creep up again. It takes time for policy to take effect and, even on a generous reading of recent government initiatives, the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions will still be nearly 40% higher in 2030 than where we need them to be to give us the best chance of meeting the legally binding 2050 net-zero target. In essence, the data shows that the UK has been coasting for a while, living off the benefits of its highly successful decision in 2015 to kick coal off the electricity grid. But power is just one of many sectors that make up the loud thrum of the country’s economy, all with climate impacts. Every policy to a degree now will be shaped by concerns around climate change, and the hard truth is that the prime minister needs the unreserved support of all his cabinet colleagues to meet his green ambitions. The former energy and climate secretary Amber Rudd recently described UK climate progress as “swings and roundabouts”. The wind turbines might be spinning, but when it comes to greening our homes, we are just going round and round. The latest scheme, the government’s green homes grant, was supposed to be the flagship policy for its Covid green recovery plan. Yet, in less than a year, it has been scrapped by a Treasury that is yet to grasp either the enormity of the ecological crisis or the scale of the economic opportunity.
Guardian 20th April 2021 read more »
With the Covid-19 pandemic still raging across the globe, plenty of thinkers are devoting their time to what comes next. The hopeful argue for an effort to Build Back Better. The less hopeful doubt that that will be easy, or perhaps even possible, and not necessarily because of the pandemic itself. The pragmatists say the future can be different, if humans can achieve radical change in themselves and their lives. They start from where we are and try to plot a way through to where we want to be. One of these is a UK think tank, the Cambridge Sustainability Commission on behaviour change and the climate crisis, whose report is published by the Rapid Transition Alliance (RTA). The RTA argues that humankind must undertake “widespread behaviour change to sustainable lifestyles … to live within planetary ecological boundaries and to limit global warming to below 1.5°C” (the more stringent limit set by the Paris Agreement on climate change. The Commission’s report notes that some of us need to change our behaviour more than others. “Globally, the wealthiest 10% of the world’s population is responsible for roughly half of all greenhouse gas emissions, while the poorest half is responsible for less than 10%,” it says.
Climate News Network 20th April 2021 read more »