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Comment: UK climate change target

20 April 2021

Reacting to the Government announcement that the UK has enshrined a new target in law to cut emissions by 78% by 2035, Environmental Audit Committee Chairman, Rt Hon Philip Dunne MP, said:

“With a little over six months to go until COP26, the climate leadership the UK has shown in committing to cut emissions by 78% by 2035 compared with 1990 levels is incredibly ambitious but very welcome. This move is exactly what we need to see at this crunch point in needing to make the tough decisions to limit warming: to stimulate changes in behaviour and mobilise private sector investment to achieve dramatic change.

“It is particularly impressive that for the first time, aviation and maritime emissions will be brought into scope. This new challenge will not be easy: the aviation and maritime industries contribute around 2.5% of global GHG emissions and have continued to grow rapidly over recent years.

“Although this level of ambition demonstrated is very promising as we mould net zero Britain, we cannot overlook the fact that the UK is off-track to deliver against its fourth and fifth carbon budgets. A major shift is required in terms of clarity of Government policy and development of coherent strategies to deliver support measures and demand signals. We are lacking Government strategies on net zero, heat and buildings, and hydrogen – all areas that need urgent clarity and all areas that the Government is dragging its feet on. It is time policy baubles start being put on the Prime Minister’s ten-point climate plan Christmas tree. We also need to see an end to the stop-start of Government schemes as we have recently seen with the Green Homes Grant.

“The Government’s climate sentiment must start being backed up with clear and demonstrable action. More policy inaction could jeopardise the UK’s leadership in this crucial year and set back climate progress for years to come.”

Image: Parliamentary Copyright