UK sets ambitious carbon target ahead of UN Summit

A new plan aims for at least 68% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the decade, compared to 1990 levels.

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has made the commitment as part of the country’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the 2016 Paris Climate Agreement. It is among the highest in the world and commits the UK to cutting emissions at the fastest rate of any major economy so far, the government claimed.

The announcement comes ahead of the UK co-hosting the Climate Ambition Summit on Saturday 12 December, which will coincide with the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement. The summit calls on countries around the world to submit ambitious NDCs or other climate plans as we head towards the UN COP26 climate talks, which the UK government is hosting in Glasgow next year.

This new target meets the recommendation of experts at the independent Climate Change Committee who advise the government on emissions targets. It also follows the government’s ’10 point plan’, which includes an ambitious roadmap to ban the sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Today, we are taking the lead with an ambitious new target to reduce our emissions by 2030, faster than any major economy, with our Ten Point Plan helping us on our path to reach it.

But this is a global effort, which is why the UK is urging world leaders as part of next week’s Climate Ambition Summit to bring forward their own ambitious plans to cut emissions and set net zero targets.

Business and Energy Secretary and COP26 President Alok Sharma said: “The UK’s new emissions target is among the highest in the world and reflects the urgency and scale of the challenge our planet faces. I hope other countries join us and raise the bar at next week’s UN Climate Ambition Summit, and ahead of the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow next year.”

The Climate Ambition Summit provides a platform for leaders who are ready to come forward with announcements of new, more ambitious nationally determined contributions and long-term strategies to net zero, as well as new climate finance pledges and ambitious adaptation plans.

Alistair Phillips-Davies, Chief Executive of SSE, described the move as “bold and decisive” policy making which will allow for a green recovery, including the “coming surge in renewables and electric vehicles”.

Keith Anderson, CEO of ScottishPower also said it was a “significant acceleration” in the race to zero and aligns with its own ambition at ScottishPower to build back greener and help lead the response to the climate emergency.

He said: “We are investing £10 billion in the next 5 years towards doubling our renewable generation capacity, delivering the network infrastructure required to support decarbonisation across transport and heat as well as offering our customers 100% clean power – all of which will create jobs, strengthen supply chains and drive innovation across the energy sector. This ambitious new target will help shape a decade of delivery with both purpose and momentum, putting us all on the path to a better future quicker.”

Sign up for our essential
newsletter service.

Enter your details here.