UK Prime Minister Theresa May has announced that the UK will legislate to reduce Carbon dioxide emissions to net zero by 2050.
Legislation will be put before Parliament on June 12 to amend the existing climate change act to incorporate the new target, the statement said.
"Now is the time to go further and faster to safeguard the environment for our children", she said. There are real signs of progress - in road transport at least - but much more must be done by Government and all other key stakeholders to ramp up progress and help ensure that the United Kingdom is, at least, amongst countries leading the world into a new green, clean industrial revolution.
The Prime Minister expressed hope that other major economies would follow suit. For that reason, the United Kingdom 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.
Doug Parr, the chief scientist for Greenpeace UK said: "As the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, it is right that the UK 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 worldwide carbon credits undermines that commitment", he said. 'This is an ambitious target but it's one that is crucial for us to achieve and it will take us working across the whole breadth of society to do that, ' she said. It admits in its report that for now it is impossible to predict the exact mix of technologies and behaviours that would work best.
Environmental groups welcomed that goal but criticsed that the United Kingdom would still use global carbon credits in order to achieve the goal.
"And it's going to act as a massive spur to the UK's bid to host the United Nations climate summit in 2020, because the UK can now legitimately say that it has done what all governments will have to soon: committing to ending its contribution to climate change". The Government's Spending Review offers an immediate opportunity to set a course for the net zero transition. Yet how this can actually be achieved remains the elephant in the room. "We know that investing in zero carbon solutions is good for growth - boosting jobs and the economy - and it is cheaper for business, organisations and government to tackle climate change now than to manage its impacts in the future".
The UK government has announced that it will set a new target to end the UK's net contribution to climate change by 2050. The report we commissioned from the Committee on Climate Change makes clear that we have laid the foundations to achieve a net zero emissions economy, and that it is necessary and feasible.
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. We must accelerate action in all areas including improving the efficiency of our aging building stock, and overcoming the challenge of decarbonising heat.
"The target must now be reinforced by credible United Kingdom policies, across government, inspiring a strong response from business, industry and society as a whole".
Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, welcomed the Government's decision but emphasised that it must be followed up with long-term policies. "Governments and policymakers will need to work closely with industry to ensure emissions are not simply exported elsewhere whilst domestic manufacturing is rendered uncompetitive".
Today will also see May officially launch the UK's bid to host the COP 26 climate conference in London in December 2020.