UK sets new climate target for 2030

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A new plan aims for at least 68% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, compared to 1990 levels, by 2030.

Recognising the urgency to go further to tackle climate change, the UK’s new target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – our Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Climate Agreement – is among the highest in the world and commits the UK to cutting emissions at the fastest rate of any major economy so far.

This new target also meets the recommendation of experts at the independent Climate Change Committee who advise the government on emissions targets.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson commented on the announcement: “We have proven we can reduce our emissions and create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the process – uniting businesses, academics, NGOs and local communities in a common goal to go further and faster to tackle climate change.

“Today, we are taking the lead with an ambitious new target to reduce our emissions by 2030, faster than any major economy, with our Ten Point Plan helping us on our path to reach it.

“But this is a global effort, which is why the UK is urging world leaders as part of next week’s Climate Ambition Summit to bring forward their own ambitious plans to cut emissions and set net zero targets.”

This target is the first set by the UK following its departure from the EU, and the announcement comes ahead of the UK co-hosting the virtual Climate Ambition Summit on Saturday 12 December, coinciding with the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement.

The summit calls on countries around the world to submit ambitious NDCs or other climate plans as we head towards the UN COP26 climate talks next year.

Each party to the Paris Agreement – including countries and international blocs such as the European Union – determines what domestic action it will take and communicates it in a Nationally Determined Contribution.

Set at COP21 in 2015, NDCs are at the heart of the Paris Agreement goal to hold the global temperature rise to well below 2°C and try to limit the increase to 1.5°C.

This new target has been welcomed across different sectors, including utilities.

Peter Simpson, CEO of Anglian Water and Co-Chair of The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group, commented: “Credible plans matter in the race to zero, so this announcement is welcomed.

“It’s why the water industry recently launched its own routemap to net zero by 2030.

“There’s never been a more important time for companies to step up, invest, and take action to support both national ambition and global need, and this expectation is something our customers have been very clear about.

“COP26 means the spotlight is on. Climate change won’t wait for us, and the time for action is now.”

Alistair Phillips-Davies, Chief Executive, SSE, added: “The UK’s 2030 ambition set out by the Prime Minister is among the most ambitious in the world and we’re excited about working alongside government to deliver it.

“This kind of bold and decisive policy-making will help unlock the investment needed to deliver on our net zero ambitions, tackle climate change and help spur a green recovery from the coronavirus crisis.”