UK to accelerate climate targets

The Government will be announcing new climate commitments, setting out to cut carbon emissions by 78 per cent by 2035.

The commitments, that will be enshrined law will include international aviation and shipping for the first time, will bring forward the current target for reducing carbon emissions by 15 years.

The current commitment is to reduce emissions in 2030 by at least 68 per cent compared to 1990 levels through the UK’s latest Nationally Determined Contribution (excluding International Aviation and Shipping emissions).

This new position would place the UK at the forefront of international climate protection and carbon reduction and is based on Climate Change Committee Sixth Carbon Budget recommendations on the requirements to meet the Paris Agreement.

The UK was the first country to enter legally binding long-term carbon budgets into legislation, first introduced as part of the 2008 Climate Change Act. Since then, five carbon budgets have been put into law putting the UK on track to meet its goal to eliminate the contribution to climate change by 2050 and achieve net-zero emissions.  

Responding to the news, the CCC’s chief executive, Chris Stark said: “I am delighted at this news; this is an important and historic decision. In committing to cut emissions by almost 80 per cent in 2035, the UK has taken its place at the forefront of global efforts to reach net-zero – crucial in the fight against climate change. By implementing our recommendations in full, the Government’s decision rests on the most comprehensive ever assessment of the path to a fully decarbonised economy.”

The announcement comes ahead of the Prime Minister addressing the opening session of the US Leaders’ Summit on Climate, hosted by President Biden on Earth Day (22 April). The Prime Minister will urge countries to raise ambition on tackling climate change and join the UK in setting stretching targets for reducing emissions by 2030 to align with net-zero.

The new carbon budget, covering the period 2033-2037, will be laid in Parliament in the next few days. HM Treasury will publish its Net Zero Review in the coming months setting out how Government plans to maximise economic growth opportunities from the net-zero transition.

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