UK should aim to ‘cut emissions to nearly zero’ by 2050

According to a report from The Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the UK should lead the global fight against climate change, cutting greenhouse gases to nearly zero by 2050.

This is a stark contrast to recent news that the UK is beginning to fall short of its legal obligation to cut emissions between now and 2032 – however the CCC states that the 2050 target “can be done at no added cost from previous estimates”.

The committee has said that if other countries follow the UK’s example, then there would be a 50-50 chance of staying below the recommended 1.5C temperature rise by 2100. Anything over 1.5C would push the planet over the “dangerous climate change” threshold.

No easy challenge

The committee has described the changes required as “challenging” and that it will require serious change such as:

  • the end of petrol and diesel cars
  • the end of gas boilers
  • producing and eating less meat
  • quadrupling clean energy generation
  • planting 1.5 billion trees

No easy changes, and certainly not low-cost changes either. The CCC has said there will need to be an investment of “tens of billions” of pounds every year.

Ambition drives ambition

In its report, the CCC highlighted that “An ambitious new UK target would encourage increases in ambition elsewhere, including the adoption of other netzero GHG targets, such as the 2050 target currently under consideration by the European Union”.

The UK has a good track record of being a leader in policy change, such as the energy market reform. It also has a population that are becoming more concerned and vocal about climate change, suggesting that support for these ambitious changes is there.

Be the greenest

Climate change is happening, it’s a fact. Governments and independent advisory boards such as the CCC are making moves in reducing our impact on the planet’s health – but waiting for changes to be forced is not a sensible approach.

Businesses should look to be ahead of the curve and make changes now with the ambition to be the greenest in their industry. Large financial institutions, manufacturers, and retailers for example could be making significant changes – leading by example and encouraging their competitors to do the same.



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