Published: Fri, June 14, 2019
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Theresa May announces net zero emissions goal for 2050

Theresa May announces net zero emissions goal for 2050

The statutory instrument to introduce the target comes in an amendment to the Climate Change Act 2008, laid in Parliament on Wednesday.

Prime minister Theresa May said: '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", Mrs May said on Tuesday. The chair of Green Christian, Paul Bodenham, said that the United Kingdom should be aiming to reach net zero within six years: "If the United Kingdom is serious about worldwide leadership, we must acknowledge the debt our country owes to poorer nations and to the young and unborn".

Lawrence Slade, chief executive of Energy UK, urged the government to get on with developing the detailed policies required to implement the net-zero target.

People could see widespread changes in their daily lives as the United Kingdom moves to cut climate emissions to zero over the next three decades. No. 10 denied Hammond's claim and said that a net zero economy would cost no more than the UK's existing decarbonisation plans. This will be checked within five years to confirm that the UK's move has prompted ambitious climate action by other countries and to also ensure that the UK's industries do not face unfair competition.

That's the verdict reached in a new analysis by Energy Systems Catapult for the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), which says the clean transition will require lifestyle changes for the average United Kingdom household in terms of transport, diet and air travel but particularly with regards to how homes are heated.


The UK already has a 2050 target - to reduce emissions by 80%. The radical move recommended by the government's climate-change adviser has won backing from across the political spectrum even as debate about leaving the European Union roiled United Kingdom lawmakers. Fiddling the figures would put a huge dent in our ability to avoid catastrophic climate change - and the Government's credibility for taking this issue seriously.

Port Moody has joined a growing list of cities and countries around the world in declaring a climate emergency. The UK is now well off-track to meeting the targets laid out in these budgets, largely due to slow progress in decarbonising sectors such as transport and heat, and has, controversially, agreed to carry forward emissions reductions which have already taken place in a bid to rectify this trend. The target also has the support of the Confederation of British Industry.

"Some sectors will need clear pathways to enable investment in low-carbon technologies, and it is vital that there is cross-government coordination on the policies and regulation needed to deliver a clean future", she said. One of the greatest challenges to reducing Carbon dioxide emissions is how we heat our homes as some 37% of Carbon dioxide emissions in the United Kingdom are produced from heating.

"UK business stands squarely behind the Government's commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Today's announcement will stimulate further investment across the United Kingdom toward the renewal of heat infrastructure". To do this, we need to see both policy and industry leadership to ensure the built environment is at the vanguard of emissions reductions.

Steve Elliott, Chief Executive of the Chemical Industries Association, said that it will be important to get the balance right between medium-term solutions such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) and hydrogen, and short-term solutions such as addressing United Kingdom policy costs like those that result in high power costs for business. "This target presents an opportunity to develop a world-leading green economy, upskill the current workforce and prepare the next generation to step up to this challenge. Public support for net zero is key, and so we must have the tools to deliver for them".

The country now aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050.

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