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The UK's climate action is under mounting scrutiny in the lead-up to COP26

Leading or lagging: Is 2050 too late for net-zero in the UK?

When the UK first announced its legally binding net-zero target, it was described as 'world-leading'. But, given that the IPCC recommended 2050 as a final cut-off date, the debate has been intensifying around whether the nation can go further and faster.

Lord Deben served as Environment Secretary in the 1990s and played an instrumental role in the Climate Change Act

Lord Deben: 'Climate change is the symptom, not the disease'

EXCLUSIVE: Committee on Climate Change chairman Lord Deben used his keynote speech at edie's Net-Zero Live to deliver a rousing speech on the intersections between climate change, nature loss and public health.

Lord Deben (top left) provided the opening keynote speech from his home in London

Lord Deben's speech and just transition debates: What happened on Day One of Net-Zero Live 2020?

Day One of edie's virtual Net-Zero Live on Tuesday (10 November) saw hundreds of sustainability and energy experts gathering with the shared aim of accelerating ambition and action. Here, we round up the key takeaways.

The Government has responded to advice from the CCC

Government to publish 'comprehensive' net-zero strategy in build up to COP26

The UK Government has responded to the latest Committee on Climate Change (CCC) progress report, pledging to publish a "comprehensive" strategy that will detail how all parts of the economy will decarbonise in line with the national net-zero emissions target for 2050.

Scotland enshrined a 2045 net-zero target in law last winter

Scotland must go beyond power to meet net-zero by 2045, Committee on Climate Change warns

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has told the Scottish Government that it should apply learnings from the low-carbon transition in the nation's electricity sector to heat and transport, lest it risk missing its 2045 net-zero target.

China accounts for 28% of the world's emissions and almost 10% of global GDP

China's carbon-neutral target for 2060: What does it mean for global climate action?

The world's largest emitting country, China, has pledged to carbon neutrality by 2060, in a surprising yet welcome move that will boost global negotiations on climate action ahead of next year's COP26 summit.

Sharma was quizzed on the UK's roads programme, green buildings grants and COP26 preparations 

Alok Sharma promises 'joined-up thinking' on net-zero policy, but examples remain scarce

Business Secretary Alok Sharma delivered rhetoric that the Government will approach the net-zero emissions commitment for 2050 through a "joined-up thinking" approach, but was unable to confirm any concrete policy announcements that would ensure fossil fuels aren't locked into the future economy.

The report specifically calls for an overhaul on how the public engages with land and air transport, while encouraging them to eat healthier diets and gain access to more technologies to reduce household emissions

Choice and information: UK citizens' assembly outlines policy and lifestyle overhauls for net-zero transition

The first UK-wide citizens' assembly on climate change, Climate Assembly UK, has issued a list of recommendations as to how travel, diets, power generation and building use can be revamped to help society transition to net-emissions by 2050.

The whitepaper notes that the UK’s future energy system will have to be supported by technologies still in their infancy - carbon capture and storage (CCS), energy storage and hydrogen production

UK slipping behind on build rate required for net-zero target

The UK is achieving less than half of the required build rate to deliver energy systems that will reach net-zero emissions by 2050, according to a new whitepaper from engineering consultancy Atkins.

Clockwise from bottom-left: CCC deputy chair Baronness Brown; chair Lord Deben and director of analysis Mike Thompson

CCC: UK's net-zero transition could be easier than first thought

The Committee on Climate Change's (CCC) chair, co-chair and chief analyst believe that the UK's transition to net-zero could be accelerated, rather than hampered, by the Covid-19 crisis.

The CCC's major recommendations cover the UK's most-emitting sectors, surface transport, heavy industry, the built environment, energy and agriculture

'We're still walking when we should run': Green economy leaders urge Ministers to implement latest CCC recommendations

Key organisations and individuals from across the UK's green economy have backed the Committee on Climate Change's (CCC) latest progress report to Parliament, urging Ministers to seize the "once-in-a-lifetime" chance to create a green Covid-19 recovery.

The CCC submitted its broader Covid-19 recovery principles to Parliament in May

CCC: Covid-19 recovery a 'once-in-a-lifetime opportunity' to spur net-zero transition

Producing a Covid-19 recovery plan which is fully aligned with the UK's 2050 net-zero climate target is "absolutely necessary and entirely possible" with strong coordination across Whitehall, Ministers have been told by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC).

The CCC believes that the government can lead a shift to new social norms, including supporting home working and remote medical consultations as well as improved safety for cycling

CCC: Change tax systems to build green economic recovery post-coronavirus

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has advised Prime Minister Boris Johnson, COP26 President Alok Sharma and national first ministers across the UK, calling for climate action to be placed at the heart of an economic rebuild following the coronavirus pandemic.

Stark discusses future carbon budgets, infrastructure strategies, COP 26 and coronavirus recoveries 

CCC boss: Green and resilient economic recovery can push UK towards net-zero target

EXCLUSIVE: The Committee on Climate Change's (CCC) chief executive Chris Stark believes the UK Government should prioritise a green and resilient economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic that doesn't lock in fossil fuels and puts the nation on an upwards trajectory towards a socially just net-zero transformation.

Consumption-based emissions have only reduced by 15% since 1990

Almost half of UK's carbon emissions not accounted for under net-zero target, report warns

The UK's net-zero target is failing to account for emissions from overseas manufacturing of products imported into the country, a figure which a new report from WWF claims accounts for 46% of the UK's annual carbon footprint.

Advice on the Sixth Carbon Budget, which covers the reduction levels required for the period of 2033-2027 will now be published in December 2020, rather than September

UK's climate watchdog to refocus advisory reports to account for coronavirus impacts on net-zero

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has announced it is amending its advisory reports due for publication over the next 12 months to account for responses to the coronavirus pandemic, with a report on the UK's sixth carbon budget pushed back to December.

MPs call for climate policy clarity on COP26 progress following postponement

The chair of the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has written to COP26 President Alok Sharma to seek an update on the "sad but unfortunate necessity" of postponing the climate summit, noting that climate change cannot afford to slip down the political agenda.

Both were set to be questioned on the UK's preparations for COP26

Committee meetings with Claire O'Neill and Alok Sharma postponed

Due to the ongoing disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak, the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee session with former COP26 President Claire O'Neill and the Lords Committee meeting with her replacement Alok Sharma have both been postponed.

The Budget sets the building block for natural and technological climate solutions, but the hard yards are ahead to reach net-zero

Does the Budget put the UK on course for net-zero emissions?

Chancellor Rishi Sunak's first Budget was brimming with green funding for natural climate solutions and carbon capture and storage (CCS), but key spending reviews and strategies on the horizon will clarify whether these will act as the launchpad for a net-zero carbon economy.

Policymakers have been facing calls for shorter-term roadmaps to help decarbonise homes in line with its 2050 target.

Government opposes 'powerless' energy efficiency proposals

The government has rejected calls to beef up its target of getting all homes to the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Band C standard by 2035 - while signalling that its own heat policy road map will be published "very soon".

Khan's damning letter has been sent to the Secretaries for Housing and BEIS, as well as the London Minister and 10 Downing Street. Image: City Hall 

Government's plans for low-carbon homes are 'a step backwards' on climate, London Mayor warns

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has urged Ministers to improve plans for decarbonising the UK's built environment sector, claiming that the capital and other cities are already going further and faster in the face of the climate emergency.

The document builds on the CCC's broad net-zero advice issued last May. Pictured: Sheep farming in Scotland 

All change for forestry and food systems: CCC calls for 'major' land-use shift to meet net-zero

The way in which land is used in the UK accounted for 12% of national emissions in 2017, meaning that agri-food systems will need to be "rapidly" changed to ensure that the Government's legally binding net-zero target is met.

Time for Tories to take a wider look at renewables, Lord Howard urges

Ex- Conservative Party leader Lord Howard has suggested that the government could review its effective ban on large new onshore wind and solar projects.

Scotland implemented a new Climate Change policy package this year - but the CCC is warning that further ambition and action is needed in 2020

CCC: Scotland must 'immediately' increase net-zero action in preparation for COP26

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has issued its annual progress report to the Scottish Parliament, urging Ministers to "begin work immediately" on implementing short-term net-zero legislation.

The CCC provided the Government with advice to develop its net-zero target

Committee on Climate Change chief issues warning for next government

The next government must be strong enough to make tough decisions as 2020 shapes up to be "critical" in the battle to cut emissions, the chief executive of parliament's climate change watchdog has warned.

Heating and hot water account for around 15% of the UK's overall carbon footprint

Lord Deben chides politicians for failing to act on decarbonisation of heat

The major Westminster parties are showing insufficient urgency about efforts to decarbonise heat, the chair of the government's climate change watchdog has warned.

It’s time for a concrete Government plan to deliver net-zero

Extinction Rebellion's actions and Greta Thunberg's rise onto the global stage have forced climate change to the top of the media and political agenda - exactly where it should be. It led to the net-zero pledge and burgeoning public awareness of the urgency of our situation and what we must do to combat it.

One of the key aspects of the citizens’ assembly is to map out the steps that the public can take to contribute to the net-zero emissions target

Government to send 30,000 invites for citizen climate assembly

The UK Government will send out 30,000 letters to invite members of the public to join a citizens' assembly aimed at outlining how the countries of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can meet net-zero emissions targets.

The energy companies have called for the CET to be set for 2020 and that it is comparable with recent EU ETS pricing

Energy giants call for post-Brexit carbon price certainty in 'Net-Zero Budget'

Energy giants Drax, Orsted and SSE have penned a joint letter to Chancellor Sajid Javid calling for the Government to outline post-Brexit carbon pricing mechanisms, warning that it is crucial to the resilience of business and acts as a key indicator for investors.

According to the ONS, China was accountable as the biggest source of imported emissions, representing 82 million tonnes in 2015

Territorial emissions: ONS data shows 35-year difference in UK peak emissions

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has found that the UK's emissions peaked in 2007, rather than 1972, if territorial emissions from imports abroad were taken into account.

The UK has already met its first and second carbon budgets and is on track to meet the third - but off-course to meet the fourth ad fifth. Pictured: The SSE Ferrybridge coal power station

CCC sets sixth carbon budget date, urges Treasury to ramp up net-zero plans

The Committee on Climate Change's (CCC) chairman Lord Deben has confirmed that the body will publish its recommendations for the UK's sixth carbon budget in September 2020.

Image: Wikipedia/Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Prime Minister Boris Johnson to chair Government climate change sub-committee

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been revealed as the chair for a new Cabinet committee on climate change that will drive progress towards net-zero across all areas of Government.

As three of the UK's most-emitting sectors, new measures for transport, the built environment and power were mentioned repeatedly in the response paper. 

Government unveils new net-zero support for buildings and 'every single mode of transport'

The UK Government has published its highly-anticipated response to the Committee on Climate Change's (CCC) advice on meeting net-zero carbon by 2050, including new measures to decarbonise business buildings and transport, and to support the uptake of energy storage at scale.

Leadsom claimed the new plan would "benefit communities and households". Image: DECC flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/deccgovuk/17525221491 

Conservatives focus on nuclear and EVs in net-zero vision for 2050

The Conservative Party has unveiled its manifesto for a net-zero carbon economy, which includes commitments to plant more than one million trees and sets aside £1bn for electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing, but fails to match Labour's ambition in pushing the 2050 timeframe forward.

Worldwide, aviation is one of the fastest-growing sectors for greenhouse gas emissions, which increased by 76.1% between 1990 and 2012

CCC: Net-zero strategies for shipping and aviation 'must cap growth in demand'

If the UK is to meet its 2050 net-zero target, Ministers must develop sector-specific strategies with time-bound, numerical targets for decarbonising the international aviation and shipping (IAS).

From transport to the built environment, its clear that policy efforts to date have made the net-zero target nothing more than "warm words" 

Green economy wishlist: How to turn the net-zero pipedream into a low-carbon pipeline

With the latest Committee on Climate Change (CCC) progress report revealing that no UK sector has showcased "good progress" to managing climate risk, the green economy has unanimously called for a net-zero philosophy to steer the nation towards its climate targets.

The CCC has highlighted particular challenges in the agriculture, built environment and conservation spaces 

CCC: Policy gaps leaving business unable to manage climate risks

None of the UK's largest 33 sectors have made good progress in improving the way they manage climate risk over the past 12 months, largely due to poor policy support.

Click on each link to read the stories in full

Net-zero laws and Hugh's War on Plastics: Top 10 sustainability stories of June 2019

As June 2019 comes to a sweltering close, edie rounds up some of the most-read sustainability stories and standout pieces of content from the past 30 days - from net-zero laws to a new war on plastics.

The webinar will take a live Q&A format, with the audience able to submit question in advance and during the session itself

AVAILABLE ON DEMAND: edie's climate emergency Q&A webinar

edie brought together energy and climate experts from Nottingham City Council, Skanska, Business in the Community (BITC) and Ørsted for a live Q&A-style webinar about the UK's climate emergency and net-zero carbon targets.

Energy and Clean Growth Minister Chris Skidmore passing the bill into law

It's official: UK sets net-zero target into law

The UK has made history by officially enshrining a net-zero emissions target for 2050 into UK law, after MPs unanimously supported the decision.

The Climate Change Act will now be amended to account for net-zero emissions by 2050

Prime Minister agrees legally binding net-zero emissions target for 2050

In one of her last acts as Prime Minister, Theresa May has confirmed that Parliament will implement the recommendations of the Committee on Climate Change, creating a legally binding net-zero carbon target for 2050.

Queen's Birthday Honours: The sustainability champions who made the 2019 list

The Queen's 2019 Birthday Honours list has recognised the outstanding achievements of a number of senior figures across the UK's sustainability and energy sectors.

Pictured: The Welsh Assembly building in Cardiff Bay.

Wales accepts CCC's 95% emissions reduction target

Plans for a 95% emissions reduction for Wales, proposed by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) as part of its recommendations on creating a net-zero economy in the UK by 2050, have been accepted by the Welsh Government.

The webinar will be available to watch on-demand afterwards

Emergency response: edie's next webinar focuses on the push towards net-zero

edie is set to empower businesses to respond to the climate emergency by hosting a bespoke Q&A webinar that will explore how corporates can transition towards net-zero and respond to growing consumer concerns on climate change.

The has UK comfortably remained under its carbon budgets to date, but is off track to meeting the more demanding fourth and fifth rounds

Government defies CCC's carbon budget surplus advice

The cabinet has reportedly defied its own climate change adviser by carrying forward emission reductions, which have already taken place, into its future carbon budgets.

Ecotricity responds to climate emergency with carbon-neutral goal for 2025

Green utilities firm Ecotricity has publicly declared a climate emergency, vowing to "upgrade" its current sustainability commitments to become a carbon-neutral business by 2025.

ECC claims the target is "ambitious" and that it acknowledges the existence of a "Climate Emergency"

Edinburgh commits to become 'net-zero' carbon city by 2030

Edinburgh City Council (ECC) has pledged to ensure that the city operates on a "net-zero" carbon basis by 2030 - 15 years before Scotland's national net-zero target for 2045.

UK Government must align funding aid with 'net-zero' to tackle global climate challenges, MPs warn

The UK Government must place climate change at the centre of its foreign aid strategy and funding decisions if it is to help communities abroad mitigate - and adapt to - global climate challenges, a group of MPs have warned.

A motion was passed by the House of Commons yesterday to declare a climate change emergency

What is a 'climate emergency'?

The UK has declared a climate emergency for the national government in Westminster and devolved administrations of Scotland and Wales. But what does it mean?

Scotland has called on the UK Government to follow its lead in agreeing to a net-zero target

Scottish Government commits to net-zero emissions by 2045

The Scottish Government has today (2 May) announced plans to amend its Climate Change Bill and commit to a legally binding target of reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 at the latest – leading the rest of the UK.

The Committee says achieving a net-zero carbon economy by 2050 will require a “whole-government” approach to fighting climate change

Net-zero emissions by 2050: CCC publishes long-awaited recommendations for UK Government

The UK must "set and vigorously pursue" a bold new climate change target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 'net-zero' levels by 2050 – replacing the current target of an 80% reduction against 1990 levels – according to a major new report from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC).

Organisations were unanimously in favour of the recommendations outlined in the report

'Government must act now': Green economy reacts to the CCC's net-zero report

Green leaders have come out in force to praise the Committee on Climate Change's report - and requested immediate action from the government on the issues raised from its findings.

The climate strikes have created a unique backdrop for Government to raise ambitions

Net-zero emissions and a Green New Deal for the UK: Key business questions, answered

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) is providing its highly anticipated advice on setting a net-zero emissions target to the Government during a time where calls for a Green New Deal continue to grow. Here, edie explores how the UK can set a new standard for climate change policy.

Turner said the government should be open-minded about using a mix of market and regulatory mechanisms to cut emissions

Decarbonisation by 2050 can be achieved at 'very low cost'

The UK can fully decarbonise by 2050 at a "very low cost", the first head of parliament's climate change watchdog has claimed.

How have key MPs responded to Greta Thunberg and the climate protests?

Following young climate activist Greta Thunberg's rousing speech to UK MPs calling for an overhaul to "very creative, carbon accounting," edie rounds up how key political figures have responded to her comments and the ongoing Extinction Rebellion protests.

The Aldersgate Group believes that the net-zero target could bolster opportunities for UK businesses

Government urged to focus on lifecycle emissions as part of net-zero target

Any plans to enshrine a net-zero carbon target into UK law will need to examine the lifecycle emissions of new infrastructure, technology and products - a move the can spur rapid growth for new low-carbon market standards.

The CCC’s chairman Lord Deben (L) and team leader for building and industry Jenny Hill (R)

CCC calls for stamp duty and winter fuel payment reform to help decarbonise homes

Members of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) have called on Ministers to alter the Government's fiscal policies for winter fuel allowances and stamp duty on homes, in a bid to help decarbonise the UK's housing stock.

The report criticises the withdrawal of key low-carbon policy frameworks, notably the zero carbon homes scheme

UK homes jeopardising national climate targets, report warns

The UK will not hit its legally binding carbon reduction targets unless the Government acts now to address the "increasing uncomfortable and unsafe" national housing stock, according to the Committee on Climate Change (CCC).

The second carbon budget was met with emissions of 384 MtCO2e (14%) below the level of the budget

CCC advises government against rolling over carbon budget surplus

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has issued "unequivocal advice" to the government not to carry forward an emissions surplus from the second carbon budget to subsequent accounting periods.

10 years on from the Climate Change Act, how far have we come?

The first line of the Climate Change Act passed in 2008 reads "it is the duty of the Secretary of State to ensure that the net UK carbon account for the year 2050 is at least 80% lower than the baseline".


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