UK Government Sets 78% Emissions Reduction Target by 2035

The UK government has announced an aggressive push toward carbon reduction with a 78% emissions reduction target by 2035, in its latest Carbon Budget. 

While outlining its sixth Carbon Budget, the UK government outlined its plan to head for net zero emissions by 2050 with the announcement of a 78% emissions reduction target by 2035. 

The new 78% emissions reduction target will be introduced to the parliament tomorrow, and is set to become law by the end of June, 2021. 

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It coincided with the announcement that the U.S. would reduce its overall emissions by 50-52% by 2030, which President Biden said came after determining that “the signs are unmistakable, the science is undeniable and the cost of inaction keeps mounting.” 

“The US isn’t waiting, we are resolving to take action,” Biden added. 

It’s one of a number of announcements from world leaders after the Earth Day summit that was organised by the U.S. President, Joe Biden. The UK’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson made the opening speech of the summit, and urged world leaders to aim for net zero emissions in their own economies. 

Key to this plan is further divestment from coal-fired electricity generation, which the UK has been tackling quite aggressively in the past few years; the UK is among the world’s largest producers of offshore wind power. 

Interestingly, it is the first Carbon Budget released by the UK government that factors in emissions from the aviation and shipping industries – both are major contributors to overall emission figures. 

The UK government issued a statement saying that “the government will look to meet this reduction target through investing and capitalising on new green technologies and innovation, whilst maintaining people’s freedom of choice, including on their diet.” 

It also claims that it has “over-achieved against the first and second Carbon Budgets” and is “on track to outperform the third” which aims to reduce emissions in the energy sector by two-thirds. 

“Moreover,” the government says, “the UK continues to break records in renewable electricity generation, which has more than quadrupled since 2010 while low carbon electricity overall now gives us over 50% of our total generation.” 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has issued a statement saying that “we want to continue to raise the bar on tackling climate change, and that’s why we’re setting the most ambitious target to cut emissions in the world.” 

“The UK will be home to pioneering businesses, new technologies and green innovation as we make progress to net zero emissions, laying the foundations for decades of economic growth in a way that creates thousands of jobs.” 

UK Government Sets 78% Emissions Reduction Target by 2035

Johnson added that “we want to see world leaders follow our lead and match our ambition in the run up to the crucial climate summit COP26, as we will only build back greener and protect our planet if we come together to take action.” 

The UK’s Business and Energy Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng has said that “this latest target shows the world that the UK is serious about protecting the health of our planet, while also seizing the new economic opportunities it will bring and capitalising on green technologies – yet another step as we build back greener from the pandemic we lead the world towards a cleaner, more prosperous future for this generation and those to come.” 

The President of the UN climate summit, COP26, Alok Sharma has said that “this hugely positive step forward for the UK sets a gold standard for ambitious Paris-aligned action that I urge others to keep pace with ahead of COP26 in Glasgow later this year.”

“Long term targets must be backed up with credible delivery plans and setting this net zero focused sixth Carbon Budget builds on the world leading legal framework in our Climate Change ACt. If we are to tackle the climate crisis and safeguard lives, livelihoods and nature for future generations, others must follow the UK’s example,” Sharma concluded. 

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