Net zero progress on climate change?

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Senior figures in the climate change debate have called on the government to do more to address climate change.

In a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Lord Deben and Baroness Brown, from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), have urged that: “In this Parliament, the UK must get on track to delivering ‘net zero’ emissions, and adapt to the climate-related changes we are experiencing.”

CCC recommendations for reducing emissions:

  • Buildings – a strategy for removing fossil fuels from the UK’s building stock starting immediately.
  • Transport – make good on the manifesto commitment for consultation on bringing forward the phase out of petrol and diesel fuelled cars, ideally by 2030.
  • Electricity – deliver the manifesto commitment of 40GW of offshore wind by 2030 and ensuring any market reforms are in-line with the UK’s net zero emissions goal.
  • Industry – developing an ongoing way to pay for emissions reduction from industry and to deliver hydrogen and carbon capture and storage infrastructure.
  • Land use and agriculture – ensuring the agriculture and environment bills lead to reductions in emissions from agriculture and a way to pay for the manifesto promise of 30,000 hectares (75,000 acres) of annual tree planting.

CCC recommendations for climate change adaptation:

  • Reduce flood risk – deliver the manifesto commitment to increase flood defence spending by £4bn and enable 200,000 properties, that cannot be protected by defences, to install property-level flood barriers.
  • Manage the risks from extreme heat – strengthening of building regulations ensuring adequate natural cooling is built into properties, alongside energy efficiency.
  • Reduce the risk of drought – further action to manage possible future water deficits, reducing water consumption per person by 30% and urgently increasing supplies.
  • Protect the natural environment – delivering on manifesto commitments to create a Nature Climate Fund, increase tree planting and restore peatland to help improve resilience and reduce emissions from land.

Energy expert view

“The new government now have an opportunity to take much more positive action on the issue of climate change emissions and adaptation measures across the UK – very necessary if we are to make timely progress on the UK’s ambition to become ‘net zero’ on climate change emissions by 2050.” Alastair Fells MEI, Incorporated Eng, PG Dip Fuel Tech, BSc Hons

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