UK Government reveals target to cut emissions by 68% by 2030

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has revealed an ambitious target to reduce emissions by at least 68% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.

The new target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – 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.

According to the UK Government, over the past decade, the UK has cut carbon emissions by more than any similar developed country and was the first major economy to legislate for net-zero emissions by 2050.

“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,” said PM Johnson.

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

“But this 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.”

The announcement comes ahead of the UK co-hosting the Climate Ambition Summit on 12 December, which will coincide with the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement.

Business and Energy Secretary and COP26 President Alok Sharma said: “Tackling climate change is one of the most urgent shared endeavours of our lifetimes, demanding bold action from every nation to prevent catastrophic global warming.

“As a country, we have demonstrated we can both rapidly cut carbon emissions, while creating new jobs, new technologies, and future-proof industries that will generate economic growth for decades to come.

“The UK’s new emissions target is among the highest in the world and reflects the urgency and scale of the challenge our planet faces.

“I hope other countries join us and raise the bar at next week’s UN Climate Ambition Summit, and ahead of the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow next year.”

Multinational energy company SSE’s chief executive, Alistair Phillips-Davies, said he is “excited” about working alongside the government to deliver the UK’s 2030 ambition.

“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,” said Phillips-Davies.

“This target provides a clear, long-term signal for businesses like SSE to get on and deliver. With a £7.5 billion (€8.2 billion) low-carbon investment programme, including building the world’s largest offshore wind farm at Dogger Bank, we’re playing our part and want to do more to demonstrate the UK’s international leadership as we build towards COP26 next year – from pioneering carbon capture and storage technology, to building the network infrastructure needed to accommodate the coming surge in renewables, electric vehicles, and heat pumps.”

Gavin Graveson, executive vice-president at Veolia UK and Ireland, said: “The UK is emerging as a leader in sustainability, and it is encouraging to see the closing of gaps on our timelines, ensuring we are fast forwarding the net-zero process.

"As a sector, we have been innovating and implementing green initiatives from renewable energy and low carbon district heating solutions, to boosting recycling rates and consolidating a circular economy, to protecting natural carbon stores such as peat-bogs in our environment.

"It is essential that we match our targets with our actions, so limiting climate change is not just looked at as optimistic, but achievable."

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