Government's climate advisers say net zero target not backed by plan

Rodiano Bonacci
Luglio 12, 2019

Britain has legislated for net-zero emissions by 2050, and now the United Kingdom government must show it is serious about its legal obligations to tackle and prepare for climate change, the committee said.

There was much fanfare when the government declared last month that the United Kingdom would cut its greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050.

The Government must back its net-zero emissions target with a coherent package of measures, including moving the sales ban on conventional cars forward, improving energy efficiency of homes, and planting trees.

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) report comes after Britain last month became the first G7 country to adopt an ambitious law to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

When she announced the net zero target, outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May said the country was a world leader in tackling climate change and had cut its emissions while also seeing economic growth.

'But global ambition does not deliver domestic action. It's time for the government to show it takes its responsibilities seriously.

The Government has made a fantastic commitment to achieving net zero carbon.

The UK is not prepared for 2C of warming, the level at which countries have pledged to curb temperature rises, let alone a 4C rise which is possible if greenhouse gases are not cut globally, the committee warned. "The government is not yet addressing adequately all of the climate risks it has itself identified as critical".

It said a net-zero policy must be adopted "across all levels and departments of government, with strong leadership and coordination at the centre. It (the net zero target) needs to be the lens through which the government views all other areas", Chris Stark, CCC chief executive said in an interview with Reuters.

The CCC also says the phase-out date of 2040 is too late to ensure that the fleet is fully switched over to zero-emission vehicles by 2050 and fails to grasp the opportunity of electric vehicles that are expected to be cheaper to buy, cheaper to run and less polluting from before 2030.

The UK strongly leads worldwide action to tackle climate change.

The CCC has repeated warnings that the government's current policies and climate change plans are insufficient to meet the UK's fourth and fifth carbon budgets, covering 2023-2027 and 2027-2032.

Emma Howard Boyd, chair of the Environment Agency, said: "The Climate Change Committee has published a powerful report today on the importance of us continuing to plan, mitigate and adapt in the face of future climate risks". Much of the UK's existing and planned infrastructure will still be in place in 2050, and almost one million homes will need to be retrofitted every year between now and 2050.

"Just last month the United Kingdom set a world-leading climate target but there is now a void between our ambition and policies to actually meet it".

Rebecca Long Bailey, shadow business and energy secretary, described the report as "a remarkable, damning assessment of the government's failure to tackle and prepare for climate change by their own advisors". Over the past year, the Government has delivered just 1 of 25 critical policies needed to get emissions reductions back on track, its new report shows.

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