Net zero by 2050: Government sets legally binding target

The Prime Minister has announced that the UK will eradicate its net contribution to climate change by 2050.

The legislation will mean that the UK is on track to become the first G7 country to legislate for net zero emissions, with other major economies expected to follow suit.

The Government also wants other countries to follow its lead, and plans to conduct a further assessment within 5 years to confirm that other countries are taking similarly ambitious action. It hopes that this will multiply the effect of the UK’s lead and ensure that UK industries do not face unfair competition.

Prime Minister Theresa May said:

“As the first country to legislate for long-term climate targets, we can be truly proud of our record in tackling climate change. We have made huge progress in growing our economy and the jobs market while slashing emissions.

Now is the time to go further and faster to safeguard the environment for our children. This country led the world in innovation during the Industrial Revolution, and now we must lead the world to a cleaner, greener form of growth.

Standing by is not an option. Reaching net zero by 2050 is an ambitious target, but it is crucial that we achieve it to ensure we protect our planet for future generations.”

Last month, a report from the Committee on Climate Change recommended that achieving a net zero emissions target by 2050 was possible and entirely necessary to avoid a runaway climate change scenario.

Almost 400,000 people are already employed in the low-carbon sector and its supply chains across the country. Low carbon technology and clean energy contribute £44.5 billion to the UK economy every year.

Businesses, academics and people across society have endorsed the advice from the Committee on Climate Change. Welcoming the announcement, Dame Carolyn Fairbairn DBE, CBI Director-General, said:

“UK business stands squarely behind the Government’s commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. This legislation is the right response to the global climate crisis, and firms are ready to play their part in combating it.

Climate leadership can drive UK competitiveness and secure long-term prosperity. This legislation must be followed by a commitment to long-term policies that support decarbonisation across the economy.”