Bold Ambition? UK to Legislate 2050 Net-Zero carbon target.
Last night, Theresa May, in one of her final acts as UK Prime Minister, pledged to take on board recommendations from the Committee on Climate Change to establish a legally binding net-zero target by 2050.
The approach, proposed today (Wednesday 12 June 2019), would see the UK become the first member of the G7 group of countries to legislate for net zero emissions.
This is a bold commitment. It is a (in our view exciting) response to increased public awareness of environmental issues and the dangers faced from a ‘climate emergency’.
This follows parliament’s declaration of a climate change emergency back at the start of May and Theresa May’s determination to leave a positive legacy after she steps down from the role of Prime Minister.
Whilst this is an exciting step, there is a lot to do and 2050 is just over 30 years away. The strategy and the means to deliver on this target is yet to be determined. Key questions include:
- How will it be financed?
- What technologies will be given priority?
- And what will the role be of international carbon credits? Net Zero plans will allow the offsetting of emissions. Control is needed to prevent and avoid loopholes
Some of the negative press about the plan focuses on cost. The Treasury has indicated that is will cost £1 trillion. However, this misses the point. Calculations don’t, for example, consider the uplift in the green economy for example. And in even simpler terms, the long term costs of not doing anything are far greater.
This is just the beginning of this new phase of tackling climate change, it isn’t a silver bullet and there is much detail to agree for an effective strategy to be set in place. Time will tell, but for now, I am going to be positive.
It really does feel like we are turning the corner.