As revealed in an op-ed in The Times, Conservative MP Sir Bernard Jenkin and Labour MP Alex Sobel reiterated the will of a growing number of MPs to enshrine a net-zero emissions target into UK law.

“A warming planet is one of the most serious long-term threats our country faces, a fact long acknowledged by defence chiefs. It’s why over 100 MPs from across all parties have signed a letter to the prime minister urging her to back a target for zero net emissions before 2050,” the MPs wrote.

The likes of Green Party’s Caroline Lucas, Lib Dem leader Vince Cable, Ed Davey and the Environmental Audit Committee’s chair Mary Creagh have backed the letter, which has now been signed by more than 100 MPs and 51 peers.

The letter to the Prime Minister was originally penned in June and made the appeal after energy and clean growth minister Claire Perry announced in April that the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) would be instructed to provide formal advice to the government on how the UK’s emissions targets should be adjusted to align with its commitments under the Paris climate change agreement.

“Given the existing advice from the CCC, the likely conclusion of the upcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, and that other countries have set net zero targets with dates between 2030 and 2050, including France, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and New Zealand, we believe this must be a target for zero greenhouse gases before 2050,” the letter notes.

Setting the precedent

The UK’s 2008 Climate Change Act legally binds the nation to emissions reductions of at least 80% from 1990 levels by 2050. Green groups have suggested that a net-zero target is needed to keep the UK in line with the Paris Agreement’s goal of a global temperature limited to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

Former Labour leader Ed Miliband is one of the signatories of the letter and recently told edie that the Government should set a precedent to other countries by introducing a net-zero target before December’s COP24 summit in Poland.

It is expected that additional MPs will add their signatures to the letter in the coming months. Members of the public can also invite them to sign through the Climate Coalition’s landing page.

Matt Mace

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