Green groups welcome UK’s ambitious 2030 climate target

The government has announced its ambitious 2030 climate target. We take a look at how the green groups haved responded.

Green groups welcome UK’s ambitious 2030 climate target

The government has announced an ambitious target to reduce the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 68% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.

The new target – the UK’s 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.

The announcement comes ahead of the UK co-hosting the Climate Ambition Summit on Saturday 12 December, which will coincide with the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement. The summit will call on countries around the world to submit ambitious NDCs or other climate plans ahead of the UN COP26 climate talks, which the UK government is hosting in Glasgow next year.

The UK’s original NDC was a 53% reduction by 2030, and was set while the UK was targeting an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050, rather than the new net-zero target that has since been enshrined into law. The new 68% target meets the recommendation of experts at the independent Climate Change Committee who advise the government on emissions targets.

The new target has been broadly welcomed by industry and green groups, but some also acknowledge that practical action is now needed to match the level of ambition.

Here we roundup some of the industry reaction:

Environmental Audit Committee Chairman, Rt Hon Philip Dunne MP:

“Setting the UK’s NDC at 68% is an ambitious target and sends a strong message to other Governments that we must all focus hard and get cracking in moving towards a low-carbon world.

“However, the ambition and target setting is only part of the equation. My Committee has heard only this week from the Energy Minister that we are not on track for the fourth and fifth carbon budgets. From our inquiries, and more widely, it is abundantly clear that achieving net-zero and reducing carbon requires decarbonising homes, boosting renewable energy, and setting sufficiently strong signals for business so they can invest in a green future. The long overdue strategies on Heat & Buildings and Hydrogen cannot come soon enough, along with the Energy White Paper, that will hopefully put the skin on the bones of the Prime Minister’s 10-point plan that industry currently needs.”

Paul Simpson, chief executive CDP:

“We welcome the UK Government’s NDC announcement. The 68% reduction is in line with the Climate Change Committee’s advice to stay on track to meeting the UK’s net-zero target and in line with the action that ambitious businesses are already taking – CDP has found that the UK businesses who have set the most ambitious 1.5°C degree aligned Science-based targets are, together, committed to reducing their cumulative, global operational emissions by 68%. These businesses know this target is achievable and are already working towards it.

“As hosts of COP26, this commitment (amongst the most ambitious of any country so far) sends an important signal both at home and abroad about the importance of climate leadership. This can inspire other countries to act and further incentivize non-state actors to ramp up their climate action. The NDC sets a clear direction of travel and leaves open the possibility of even further ambition – as 68% is the minimum level of ambition set. This ambitious NDC will now need to be matched by equally ambitious policies to deliver it – and will also require further climate action from businesses, investors, and cities.”

Ed Miliband MP, Labour Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy:

“We welcome the important strengthening of the 2030 UK target. But we believe this is the minimum we should aim for. Our goal should be to go further and faster, cutting the significant majority of emissions in this decisive decade, which is the right way to lead in creating the climate jobs of the future and keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees.

“As we move to this higher target, it is clear there is now a yawning gap between the government’s aspirations and its policies to deliver them. The Government didn’t have the policies to meet their previous target and the chasm will be even greater now.

“So now we urgently need a plan with the policies to tackle the climate emergency and to do so in a way that creates jobs and is fair. That should start with a £30bn stimulus to be invested in a green recovery over the next 18 months to tackle the unemployment crisis we face and kick-start the measures necessary to tackle the climate crisis.

Julie Hirigoyen, Chief Executive at UKGBC:

“We applaud the leadership shown by the UK Government with this announcement, which is rightly ambitious and sets an appropriately high bar for others to follow. It is aligned with the growing number of business commitments and science based targets, which provides a mutually reinforcing confidence that public and private sector are moving in the same direction.

“Businesses in the built environment sector – which is so critical for emissions reductions – must stand ready to deliver solutions at scale that will help the UK meet these targets. But to do so will depend on the same level of ambition being urgently translated into a number of key policy frameworks – such as the upcoming Heat and Buildings Strategy and the Future Homes Standard.”

Richard Black, director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU):

“The UK’s NDC has been a long time coming, and it’s important that government is publishing it before the end of 2020, living up to the commitment that all countries made in the Paris Agreement.

“While the level of ambition won’t please all campaigners, this is the most significant NDC announcement so far from any major economy, increasing the pace of carbon-cutting by about 50% and accelerating opportunities for companies in low-carbon sectors. Meeting it would put the UK on track to delivering on its net-zero target for 2050, and sets down a marker for other prosperous nations regarding their own minimum level of NDC ambition.”

Paul Simpson, chief executive CDP:

“We welcome the UK Government’s NDC announcement. The 68% reduction is in line with the Climate Change Committee’s advice to stay on track to meeting the UK’s net-zero target and in line with the action that ambitious businesses are already taking – CDP has found that the UK businesses who have set the most ambitious 1.5°C degree aligned Science-based targets are, together, committed to reducing their cumulative, global operational emissions by 68%. These businesses know this target is achievable and are already working towards it.

“As hosts of COP26, this commitment (amongst the most ambitious of any country so far) sends an important signal both at home and abroad about the importance of climate leadership. This can inspire other countries to act and further incentivize non-state actors to ramp up their climate action. The NDC sets a clear direction of travel and leaves open the possibility of even further ambition – as 68% is the minimum level of ambition set. This ambitious NDC will now need to be matched by equally ambitious policies to deliver it – and will also require further climate action from businesses, investors, and cities.”

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