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UK becomes first G7 economy to legislate net zero carbon by 2050

New FiTs boost UK's solar industry following Government turnaround.

The British Parliament will legislate a target of UK zero net carbon emissions by 2050. It is the first nation among G7 economies to do so.

The announcement by Prime Minister Theresa May follows independent advice contained in a report from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC).

However, with the Conservative PM May now due to step down as Tory leader following failed Brexit negotiations, it will be for future governments to achieve the climate goal of UK net zero carbon emissions.

UK zero net carbon by 2050 goal announced.

The UK has mandated a zero net carbon emissions target by 2050. Image: Pixabay.

The CCC report called for ending the UK’s contribution to global warming by phasing out greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. It recommended a combination of measures, including, renewable energy generation, low-carbon heating, a ramp-up of Britain’s EV fleet and tree planting.

In addition, the government says it will retain its use of international carbon credits to offset future emissions.

In May, Britain recorded its first week without coal-fired energy since 1882. And the nation recently reintroduced feed-in tariff subsidies to support rooftop solar power systems from 2020.

Despite boasts, Australia lags on carbon emissions

The Australian government steadfastly maintains its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 26–28 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. This, it says, is in line with our commitment under the Paris Climate Agreement.

Unfortunately, data reveals the country is really on track for an increase of 9 per cent above 2005 levels by 2030. According to Climate Tracker, emissions from fossil fuels and industry have risen by an average 1 per cent each year since 2014. Indeed, the government plans to underwrite a new coal-fired power plant in Queensland.

The government insists Australia will meet its emissions target. But Climate Tracker rates these efforts “insufficient” to global requirements. If all other countries followed our lead, the world would be on track for 3-4 degrees of warming by 2100.

Business sector welcomes UK zero net carbon target

Carolyn Fairbairn, Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry, celebrated the UK net zero carbon 2050 announcement.

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

Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Greg Clark also added to the praise.

“Almost 400,000 people are already employed in the low-carbon sector and its supply chains across the country. We want to continue our global leadership and that’s why we are introducing a legally-binding net zero target.”

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