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CCC: Phase out greenhouse gas emissions by 2050

Published: 8 May 2019 - Carly Wills

The UK can end its contribution to global warming within 30 years by setting an ambitious new target to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050, says Committee on Climate Change (CCC).

Ten years after the Climate Change Act became law, CCC says that now is the right moment to set a more ambitious goal. Achieving a ‘net-zero’ target by the middle of the century is in line with the UK’s commitment under the Paris Agreement, which the UK and the rest of the world signed in 2015.

The committee says that Scotland has greater potential to remove pollution from its economy than the UK overall, and can credibly adopt a more ambitious target of reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) by 2045.

Wales has slightly lower opportunities than the UK as a whole, and should adopt a target for a 95 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, compared to 1990 levels.

The CCC says that this is a crucial time in the global effort to tackle climate change. Global average temperature has already risen by 1°C from pre-industrial levels, driving changes in our climate that are increasingly apparent. In the last ten years, pledges to reduce emissions by the countries of the world have reduced the forecast of global warming from above 4°C by the end of the century to around 3°C. Net-zero in the UK would lead the global effort to further limit the rise to 1.5°C.

The CCC says its recommended targets, which cover all sectors of the UK, Scottish and Welsh economies, are achievable with known technologies, alongside improvements in people’s lives, and should be put into law as soon as possible.

The full report can be found here

Electrotechnical and engineering services trade body ECA has welcomed report and says it agrees with some of the main recommendations.

Luke Osborne, ECA energy and emerging technologies solutions advisor, said: “As well as following some of the key recommendations of the report, the government should also work to implement the recent findings of the Green Finance task force, particularly regarding driving up demand and supply for green mortgage products and green lending. 

“More widely, however, the government now needs to adopt a very clear pathway, with milestones, to meet the 2050 target. In doing so, it will show a more activist approach in providing funding and regulation where both might be needed.”

ECA’s view is that robust, long term policies are necessary to give financial investors confidence, and also to give confidence to a large number of businesses and facilitators who could help achieve these targets.

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