Hot topic… reasons for climate target and how to do your bit

The UK is preparing to become a net-zero emissions economy

The UK is preparing to become a net-zero emissions economy

This government committed to legislating for a net zero emissions target in its Clean Growth Strategy and previous year wrote to the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) asking for advice on whether we should set a date.

The Associated Press reports the Committee on Climate Change had recommended to the government such measures as reducing the consumption of meat and dairy products, changing the way farms do business, and making electric cars the only cars people can buy by 2035.

The move would help the United Kingdom reduce carbon emissions to almost zero by 2050, according to the report, which has also called for a substantial investment to improve electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the UK.

But it won't be the first time the country has built an economic future on blazing a trail.

Dr Nina Skorupska, Chief Executive of the Renewable Energy Association, also welcomed the report and called for urgent action from the government to support AD and other renewable energy technologies, adding: "This report blazes a trail for the United Kingdom to assert itself as a leader in socially responsible new industries and the government should grab it with both hands". This, it is stated, would be supported by increasing recycling rates to 70 per cent across the whole of the United Kingdom by 2025 and reducing food waste "as far as possible" - the report estimates that 70 per cent of the 10 million tonnes of food wasted every year after it leaves the farm is thrown away in households.

However, it stresses the costs of moving to a low-carbon society must be fair.

Critically, the committee has said that for established technologies like solar to play their part, the policy ambition set by the government must also match up.

CCC Chief Executive Chris Stark told journalists the law could be in place before global climate talks in Chile at the end of the year since there was cross-party consensus in Britain on the need to act.

"A policy gap, however, now exists to bring forward new power generation technologies in the 2020's".

While the alliance of environmental groups applauded the committee's decision to target all greenhouse gases - not just carbon - and to include shipping and aviation emissions in its calculations, it said it believes Britain should move faster and strive to achieve the goal by 2045.

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Such an increase would mean between 540 and 645TWh of low carbon power on the system, a significant leap from the 155TWh the United Kingdom boasts today.

"If this is not addressed sooner rather than later, taking the necessary steps will be more expensive for United Kingdom taxpayers".

"An earlier date has been proposed by some groups and might send a stronger signal internationally to those considering increasing their own ambition, but only if it's viewed as credible", the panel said.

Britain now aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) by 80 percent compared with 1990 levels by 2050.

They can improve the energy efficiency of their homes, as well as setting thermostats no higher than 19C, and consider installing low-carbon heating systems.

Aaron Kiely, Climate Campaigner at Friends of the Earth, voiced concern about the odds of success and the urgency of delivery.

"We can't keep playing politics if we're going to tackle climate change".

The ex-Tory leader was joined in his call by Oscar winning film producer and Labour peer Lord Puttnam, who helped push the Climate Change Act through parliament in 2008. It's the use of methane that releases carbon and that needs to be phased out.

She added: "We are now not on target to meet the UK's fourth and fifth carbon budgets, let alone achieve net zero so the stark reality is that the United Kingdom government has a lot to do to help deliver a better planet for our children. Hydrogen should be added to the gas grid". "We now need to make urgent progress towards delivering the deal".

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