The UK government’s official climate advisors currently have their heads down working out a strategy for the UK to reach net zero emissions – a strategy they will present to ministers next year amidst hopes it could trigger a surge of fresh climate ambition at the highest levels of government. The assumption had been any net zero goal would build on the existing Climate Change Act’s target of 80 per cent emissions cut by 2050 and set the samemid-century deadline. But the wording of the government’s letter to the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) asks for a recommendation on what “range” emissions should be in by 2050, opening the door for an earlier target for achieving net zero status. And for many experts 2050 is already starting to look outdated as a target for achieving net zero emissions in the UK. After all, as the argument sparked by the recent IPCC report on how to avoid more than 1.5C of warming goes, if the global economy needs to be net zero by 2050, surely an industrialised nation like the UK – already a climate leader – should move ahead of the pack and become a decarbonising trail-blazer for others to follow? But what would moving faster than 2050 look like? Is net zero emissions before then even possible for an economy like the UK? A ground-breaking new report released today suggests such a target is feasible, but will require sweeping changes to almost every aspect of life in the UK and a serious amount of international co-operation on issues such as aviation emissions to get there. Yet the paper, commissioned by WWF and compiled by Vivid Economics, promises the extra effort will be rewarded with an opportunity for the UK to demonstrate its global leadership in tackling climate change, cementing its status as a pioneer in international decarbonisation, and unlocking major new low carbon industrial opportunities in the process.
Business Green 21st Nov 2018 read more »