Britain sets deadline for carbon neutrality by 2050

Theresa May the Prime Minister

80 percent of the homes we will be living in, in 2050, have already been built, meaning foremost a national retrofit programme has to be seriously considered and implemented to bring these into net-zero targets.

The UK Government has also said it will conduct a further assessment within five years to confirm that other countries are taking similarly ambitious action, multiplying the effect of the UK's lead and ensuring that industries do not face unfair competition.

But, he expressed disappointment that the government has announced a review of the target in five years' time to assess whether the UK's efforts are being matched by competitor nations as well as its decision to retain the ability to use worldwide carbon credits to meet emissions cut targets. This will amend the Climate Change Act 2008.

The legislation should also accelerate progress on decarbonisation, he insisted: "2050 is still too slow to address catastrophic climate change, the United Kingdom can and must go faster".

The UK's official Committee on Climate Change (CCC), which proposed the 2050 date, said last month it was "essential" that such credits were not used.

However the announcement has received a warm welcome from the industry. Chief executive Darren Shirley said: "A major shift to sustainable transport with growth in the use of public transport, cycling and walking is now needed". The new target will amend the 2008 Climate Change Act, which commits the United Kingdom to reducing emissions by 80% by 2050, to the much more more ambitious goal of zero net emissions. Britain has an opportunity to cement its global leadership in reducing emissions, and to create new economic opportunities as a result. "We know that investing in zero carbon solutions is good for growth - boosting jobs and the economy - and it is cheaper for business, organisations and government to tackle climate change now than to manage its impacts in the future".

"As the first major economy to legislate for net-zero, we should all now get behind the UK's bid to host the UN Framework Conference on Climate Change (UNFCC) COP26 conference next year".

This afternoon (12 June) will see May lay her amendment to the Climate Change Act in Parliament for the first time, less than 24 hours after the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) committee's chair Rachel Reeves MP introduced a new bill for legislating on net-zero to the House.

The UK has committed to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and will become the first G7 country to legislate the proposal.

Matt Setchell, co-head of Octopus Energy Investments commented: "The government's decision to target net-zero carbon emissions is another important step forward".

While details regarding how the United Kingdom plans to reach net-zero emissions remain to be set out, the Government has confirmed that it will, broadly, follow the CCC's framework, which No 10 has agreed could be delivered using between 1-2% of GDP in 2050.

"Now is the time to go further and faster to safeguard the environment for our children", Prime Minister Theresa May said in a statement.

The Welsh Government has also announced that it intends to meet the net zero by 2050 target, even though the CCC only recommended 95% reductions for Wales as its large agricultural sector will be hard to decarbonise.

"Committing to net-zero by 2050 is a very ambitious and complex challenge but one that engineers have to be at the heart of" said James Robottom, Energy and Climate Change Lead, at the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).

Some of the changes that will need to be enacted to ensure the United Kingdom meets this net-zero commitment will be the phasing out of fossil fuels from the energy mix; greater energy-efficiency measures, including better insulated homes; and the decarbonisation of transport, agriculture, and industry.

Sir John Armitt, chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, said the government's National Infrastructure Strategy, which is due to be published during the autumn, must be "unambiguously bold" in setting a "clear and achievable path to ensure the United Kingdom becomes a low-carbon nation".

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