UK advisers set to recommend 2050 carbon neutral deadline
The UK's top advisory body on climate change is set to recommend the government reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, in a move that would help Britain reclaim its global leadership on the environment.
According to an informed source, the independent Committee on Climate Change (CCC) is expected to conclude in a new report released later this week that the 30-year target is both viable and cost-effective.
The new deadline would put the UK on track to fully meet its commitment to The Paris Agreement, under which countries have pledged to keep the global average temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius.
If replicated across the world and coupled with near-term emissions reductions, there would be a greater than 50 percent chance of limiting the temperature increases to just 1.5 degrees Celsius—the "safe" upper limit identified by the UN's International Panel on Climate Change last October.
It could also be achieved within a budget of 1-2 percent of gross domestic product in 2050, British media quoted the report as saying.
The report is expected to say that reaching the target would require a rapid rollout of new policies across various government departments: low-carbon electricity would need to quadruple and low-carbon heating will be required throughout Britain building stock.
All new cars and vans should be electric by 2035 or earlier, while novel technologies such as carbon capture and storage will become a necessity.
Such reforms are especially urgent considering that the UK is currently set to miss its present legally-mandated target of an 80 percent cut in emissions by 2050.
Tree-planting targets are also not being delivered, while large-scale trials for heat-pumps or hydrogen heating systems are yet to begin.
But falls in the cost of some key technologies, such as offshore wind and electric vehicle batteries, means that such reforms are now economically manageable, the committee is expected to advise.
If enshrined in law, the target would represent a landmark follow-up to the 2008 Climate Change Act, which saw the UK become the first country in the world to adopt legally binding emissions targets and established the CCC as an independent, statutory body.
British lawmakers are set to debate climate change in parliament on Wednesday and hold a vote on whether the situation should be declared an emergency.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove on Tuesday met with representatives of Extinction Rebellion, an environmental campaign group that brought parts of central London to a standstill over 11 days this month.
The group said Gove was committing "a moral and political failure" by not declaring a climate emergency.
© 2019 AFP