The UK government has committed to net zero carbon emissions by the year 2050, making it the first country with a major economy to create such a deadline.
So far the announcement has been met with positive support across political parties and is expected to pass in Parliament. Prime Minister Theresa May introduced the 2050 goal as an amendment to the current Climate Change Act, which resulted in part from recommendations made by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC). The CCC published a 277 page report in February of this year that specifically requested legislation that would plan for the UK to end its negative contribution to climate change.
May stated, “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. We must lead the world to a cleaner, greener form of growth.” The UK government aims to improve health benefits for its citizens, end its negative contribution to climate change worldwide, and improve the country’s natural habitats with this pivotal goal.
Prime Minister May has also announced that there will be a cohort of young people, including science and engineering students, tasked with advising the government in identifying environmental priorities and creating the policies to reach this goal. The specifics of these policies and funding for the associated needed developments has not yet been developed or announced. While there is much work to be done, May’s goal of ending the UK’s negative contribution to climate change by 2050 is consequential.
What steps can the UK government take to ensure their goal is successful? How are other countries moving towards goals of carbon neutrality?