Government commits to end UK contribution to climate change by 2050

The Prime Minister has today announced that the UK will eradicate its net contribution to climate change by 2050.

Legislation in the form of a statutory instrument to implement this and amend the Climate Change Act 2008 will be laid in Parliament today.

A statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office said the legislation would mean that the UK is on track to become the first G7 country to legislate for net zero emissions, with other major economies expected to follow suit.

“But it is imperative that other major economies follow suit. For that reason, the UK will conduct a further assessment within 5 years to confirm that other countries are taking similarly ambitious action, multiplying the effect of the UK’s lead and ensuring that our industries do not face unfair competition.” the statement says.

Prime Minister Theresa May said that reaching net zero by 2050 is an ambitious target but “standing by is not an option.“

Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Greg Clark added that the report commissioned by the Government from the Committee on Climate Change made it clear that “we have laid the foundations to achieve a net zero emissions economy, and that it is necessary and feasible.”

Chancellor Philip Hammond has separately warned Theresa May that reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 could cost the UK more than £1 trillion, meaning less money for schools, police and hospitals.

Welcoming the announcement, Dame Carolyn Fairbairn DBE, CBI Director-General, said:

“UK business stands squarely behind the Government’s commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. This legislation is the right response to the global climate crisis, and firms are ready to play their part in combating it.”

“Climate leadership can drive UK competitiveness and secure long-term prosperity. This legislation must be followed by a commitment to long-term policies that support decarbonisation across the economy.”

“Some sectors will need clear pathways to enable investment in low-carbon technologies, and it is vital that there is cross-government coordination on the policies and regulation needed to deliver a clean future.”

The Government intends to retain the ability to use international carbon credits within an appropriate monitoring, reporting and verification framework, allowing the UK to maximise the value of each pound spent on climate change mitigation.

The Government will continue to work with international partners to tackle climate change, including through its bid to host COP26.