The UK government has pledged to cut the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 68 percent from 1990 levels by 2030, a significant detraction from the ambitions of existing 53 to 57 percent reduction plans.
The new target comes 9 days before the UK is hosting a “climate change summit” to encourage other countries to declare stricter climate plans under the Paris Agreement known as Nationally Set Contributions (NDCs). Stronger plans are needed to bridge the gap between the catastrophic temperature rise of more than 3 ° C, which we are on the right track for due to global commitments, and the Paris Agreement goal of bringing global warming to 1.5 ° C limit, close.
“This is the most significant NDC announcement to date by a major economy,” said Richard Black of the UK think tank Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit in a statement.
The new target is exactly what the government’s official climate advisor, the Climate Change Committee (CCC), called for in a letter released today. The group said 68 percent would be “world leaders” compared to existing government plans.
The UK had previously pledged 53 percent as part of a joint effort with the rest of the European Union, but Brexit has prompted the UK to produce a new NDC. Separately, the UK had pledged a 57 percent cut in domestic legislation by 2032.
Today’s bold new destination has been welcomed by environmental groups and businesses including Greenpeace, WWF, Tesco, BT and energy companies.
It is clear, however, that much more action will be required if Britain is to embark on a path that matches its new ambitions. The government’s analysis last week found that recent key measures like banning sales of new gasoline and diesel cars by 2030 were not enough to get Britain on track even for the old 57 percent target by 2032. The new goal further increases this gap.
The new plan does not cover shipping and aviation, although the CCC is today calling for the new NDC to include “clear commitments” to curb emissions from both sectors. It also only covers territorial emissions and therefore does not take into account emissions from goods made abroad by UK citizens.
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