Is Net Zero possible for the UK by 2050?

The Committee for Climate Change has today (2 May 2019) published its Technical Report, which responds to a request from the Governments of the UK, Wales and Scotland for a reassessment of the UK’s long-term emissions targets.

The resassessment provides new emissions scenarios, which draw on ten new research projects, three expert advisory groups, and reviews of the work of the IPCC and others.

The final Report: Net Zero – The UK’s contribution to stopping global warming and Technical Report provides conclusions supported by detailed analysis that has been carried out for each sector of the economy, plus consideration of F-gas emissions and greenhouse gas removals.

The key findings are:

  • The Committee on Climate Change recommends a new emissions target for the UK: net-zero greenhouse gases by 2050.
  • In Scotland, we recommend a net-zero date of 2045, reflecting Scotland’s greater relative capacity to remove emissions than the UK as a whole.
  • In Wales, we recommend a 95% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050.

It is anticipated that a net-zero GHG target for 2050 will deliver on the commitment that the UK made by signing the Paris Agreement. It is achievable with known technologies, alongside improvements in people’s lives, and within the expected economic cost that Parliament accepted when it legislated the existing 2050 target for an 80% reduction from 1990.

The Technical Report consideres that this will only be possible if clear, stable and well-designed policies to reduce emissions further are introduced across the economy without delay. Current policy is insufficient for even the existing targets.

ACTION POINTS

  1. Review the Committee for Climate Change Reports: Net Zero – The UK’s contribution to stopping global warming and Technical Report for the options affecting your personal and business life
  2. Consider short-, medium- and longer-term options for going Net Zero by 2050.
  3. Monitor the developments from Governments of the UK, Wales and Scotland to support the migration to a Net Zero economy.
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