Greenhouse gas emissions in the UK will be cut to almost zero by 2050, under the terms of a new government plan to tackle climate change. Prime Minister Theresa May said reducing pollution would also benefit public health and cut NHS costs. Britain is the first major nation to propose this target – and it has been widely praised by green groups. But some say the phase-out is too late to protect the climate, and others fear that the task is impossible. The UK already has a 2050 target – to reduce emissions by 80%. That was agreed by MPs under the Climate Change Act in 2008, but will now be amended to the new, much tougher, goal.
BBC 12th June 2019 read more »
The prime minister will today commit the UK to the toughest climate change target of any major economy, overruling the chancellor in the process. Theresa May will lay a statutory instrument in parliament amending the Climate Change Act 2008 to require the UK to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to “net zero” by 2050. The existing target is an 80 per cent cut in emissions by 2050 but the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) advised the government last month to increase the target to net zero to help to meet the Paris climate agreement, which seeks to limit global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. Net zero means that remaining emissions would be balanced by technology to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Last month Philip Hammond warned Mrs May that achieving a net-zero target would cost more than £1 trillion by 2050 and could make some key industries uncompetitive. In a leaked letter he said that the Treasury should review the costs and effects of the target before the government committed to it. He said that the cost was likely to mean less money for the NHS, schools and police. However, Mrs May is determined to make a bold commitment on climate change part of her legacy. Mr Hammond won one concession: Mrs May has agreed that the UK “will conduct a further assessment within five years to confirm that other countries are taking similarly ambitious action”. This opens up the possibility that the UK could cut emissions more slowly if other countries failed to match its efforts.
Times 12th June 2019 read more »
Philip Hammond trying to block Theresa May’s ‘vanity’ project to cut emissions to zero by 2050. Mrs May’s plans come amid an ongoing row with Chancellor Philip Hammond who is battling her plans to spend billions on funding legacy projects before she officially leaves office. A leaked letter revealed Mr Hammond has particular reservations about her plans to decarbonise the economy, which he believes could cost “well in excess of £1tn”. Former permanent secretary to the Treasury Nick Macpherson backed the Chancellor tweeting last week the Treasury should resist funding “legacy vanity projects”.
The i News 11th June 2019 read more »
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 could 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.
Telegraph 11th June 2019 read more »
Theresa May has sought to cement some legacy in the weeks before she steps down as prime minister by enshrining in law a commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, making Britain the first major economy to do so. The commitment, to be made in an amendment to the Climate Change Act laid in parliament on Wednesday, would make the UK the first member of the G7 group of industrialised nations to legislate for net zero emissions, Downing Street said. Environmental groups welcomed the goal but expressed disappointment that the plan would allow the UK to achieve it in part through international carbon credits, something Greenpeace said would “shift the burden to developing nations”. Last week No 10 dismissed claims from the chancellor, Philip Hammond, that such a target would cost £1tn and could thus require spending cuts to public services.
Guardian 11th June 2019 read more »
Edie 11th June 2019 read more »
Environmental groups welcomed the net zero target, but noted that it contained loopholes, such as the use of international carbon “offsets” that could be purchased from developing countries if the UK failed to meet its goal. “Judging by the small print, this is a net zero target with a backstop,” said Greenpeace chief scientist Doug Parr. “The loopholes being woven into the legislation by the Treasury will need to be unpicked.”
FT 11th June 2019 read more »
The International Energy Agency (IEA) is developing a scenario for holding global warming below 1.5C that could be included in its influential annual outlook this year.
Climate Home News 11th June 2019 read more »