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UK Climate Minister Fires Starting Pistol on Net Zero Emissions
Created time:2018-05-22

The UK Climate Minister Claire Perry has announced in a speech to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) taking place in London this week, that the UK will formally ask the Committee on Climate Change to review the UK’s long term emissions targets, to bring them in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The Minister said:  

After the IPCC's report later this year, we will be seeking the advice of the UK's independent advisors, the Committee on Climate Change, on the implications of the Paris Agreement for the UK's long-term emissions reduction targets.

The UK already has a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. This was set in 2008 with the aim of keeping temperatures to 2C. But the Paris Agreement commits signatory countries to keeping the global temperature to well below 2C and to aim for 1.5C. The IPCC will publish a landmark report in October this year setting out the global emissions trajectory needed to reach the 1.5C target as well as an analysis of the climate impacts of missing that goal, which are likely to be highly destructive.

Ed Mathew, Associate Director at climate think tank E3G, said: 

This announcement has massive implications because to keep global warming to 1.5C the UK needs to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 at the latest, with the whole world reaching this point by 2060-70. Such a goal would mean significant acceleration in the pace of UK decarbonisation, putting the UK at the vanguard of the growing green energy market. But most importantly it would cement the UK as a global leader in the battle against climate change and gives the world hope that the most catastrophic impacts of climate change can be avoided. The advice from the Climate Change Committee can’t come fast enough.