The UK has become the first major economy to pass a net zero emissions target into law, with almost one sixth of the global economy now covered by similar targets according to new analysis.
On 27 June, the UK became the first major country to pass a law to end its contribution to global warming by 2050.
UK leading the way?
After the law was passed, energy and clean growth minister Chris Skidmore said that the UK was “pioneering the way for other countries to follow.”
However, achieving the new goal will be difficult; the UK was already off track on its previous targets and experts predict that the government will have to “purposefully disrupt” the economy to speed up the transition.
Critics also pointed out that separate legislation to increase VAT rates on solar and battery technologies from 5% to 20% was laid before Parliament the same day the net zero law was adopted.
The UK only just beat France to first place, with the latter setting the same 2050 goal into legislation on 28 June. Norway and Sweden have also set their own goals (net zero by 2030 and 2045 respectively) into law.
According to new analysis from the UK’s Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), 16 per cent of global GDP is now covered by similar net zero targets, whether on a national, regional or city level.
In total, 15 nations have declared the intention of reaching net zero by or before 2050, with many more putting plans in place to join them. In addition, at least 11 states or regions, such as California, Catalunya and Scotland, have their own goals. At least 23 global cities are also on board.
The ECIU analysis also shows that at least 34 global companies with an annual income of above $1 billion have set net zero targets.
‘It can be done’
Richard Black, director of the ECIU, said: “A target means little without a process to meet it. But science shows unequivocally that halting climate change means reducing emissions to net zero; so if a government isn’t planning to bring its own emissions to net zero, it can’t really claim to be planning to do its share of stopping climate change.
“The fact that governments, regions, cities and businesses are beginning to set net zero targets indicates a growing level of concern among citizens and governments about climate change. It also reflects a growing body of evidence showing that it can be done, and done affordably.”
Posted under General Interest and Environmental Regulations and Legislation on 10 July 2019