Climate Change

UK on track to be first G7 country to legislate for net zero emissions by 2050

The Climate Change Act, 2008 will be amended on June 12 in Parliament, as advised by the Committee on Climate Change

 
By Kiran Pandey
Last Updated: Wednesday 12 June 2019
The Houses of Parliament in London. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The Houses of Parliament in London. Photo: Wikimedia Commons The Houses of Parliament in London. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The United Kingdom (UK) is on track to become the first G7 country to legislate for net zero emissions by 2050.

The Climate Change Act passed in 2008 will be amended in the British Parliament on June 12 in order to reach the target of net zero emissions by 2050.

This new target is based on advice from experts of the Committee on Climate Change, commissioned by the government in October 2018.  

In 2008, the UK’s original target was an 80 per cent reduction in emissions by 2050. Since then, the projected whole economy cost of reaching the target has reduced dramatically because of advances in green technology.

The Committee on Climate Change believes that net zero emissions can be achieved within the estimates set out in the 2008 Climate Change Act.

The report by the Committee projects significant benefits to public health and savings under the National Health Service from better air quality and less noise pollution, as well as improved biodiversity.

“As the first country to legislate for long-term climate targets, we can be truly proud of our record in tackling climate change,” said Prime Minister Theresa May in a press statement on June 12.

“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,” she added.

Other members of the Group of seven industrially developed countries – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States – are also expected to follow the UK’s move.

The UK will conduct a further assessment within 5 years to confirm that other countries are taking similarly ambitious action.

The UK is already a centre for clean growth and innovation. Low carbon technology and clean energy contribute £44.5 billion to its economy every year.

It would be ending the sale of new diesel and petrol cars and vans through the government’s policy document, “Road to Zero Strategy”, and protecting biodiversity and promoting sustainability through a 25-year Environment Plan.

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