United Kingdom pledges net zero fossil fuel pollution in first for G7

Theresa May the Prime Minister

Theresa May the Prime Minister

A report from the independent Committee on Climate Change recommended wholesale changes to the way the United Kingdom generates, distributes and consumes power as well as ways the public can change their habits, including flying less and driving electric cars.

A statement by Prime Minister Theresa May hinted that reduction in pollution, will also ultimately improve public health by cutting down NHS costs.

"Standing by is not an option", Mrs May said on Tuesday.

The UK government will legislate for a net zero economy by 2050 Prime Minister Theresa May has confirmed, in one of her last acts in office. This will be checked within five years to confirm that the UK's move has prompted ambitious climate action by other countries and to also ensure that the UK's industries do not face unfair competition. Reaching net zero by 2050 is an ambitious target, but it is crucial that we achieve it to ensure we protect our planet for future generations. We have made huge progress in growing our economy and the jobs market while slashing emissions.

The Climate Change Act 2008 committed the United Kingdom to reduce net emissions by 80% from 1990 levels by 2050.

The Government also announced that the Youth Steering Group, set up by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and the British Youth Council, will start a review of the UK's climate policy in July and be able to give their views to the Government and advise on action.

The UK is already a centre for clean growth and innovation.

The UK government's move was quickly welcome by environmental campaigners from Greenpeace, which called it "a big moment for everyone in the climate movement".

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The committee published its recommendations for the government in May this year, suggesting the country introduces a ban on new petrol and diesel cars sales from 2035. Hence it would be ideal for Britain to take the lead.

Urgency is building around efforts to contain an increase in global temperatures. "There is no time to lose, now is the time to act".

More than 10,000 people are expected in Westminster to speak to their MP about climate change as part of the Time Is Now mass lobby of Parliament on 26 June, organised by the Climate Coalition.

"It will also consider the implications for our United Kingdom competitiveness".

"UK business stands squarely behind the Government's commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050". This legislation must be followed by a commitment to long-term policies that support decarbonisation across the economy.

The announcement today makes it clear that using global carbon credits in support of the 2050 goal would be one piece of the puzzle, while "it will be for future governments to determine the precise direction of future climate policy".

"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". As the birthplace of the industrial revolution, it is right that the United Kingdom is the world's first major economy to commit to completely end its contribution to climate change, but trying to shift the burden to developing nations through International Carbon Credits undermines that commitment. If we are to meet the challenge of climate change, we need worldwide partners across the world to step up to this level of ambition.

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