‘No time to waste’: Boris Johnson to set out 10-point plan to boost net-zero commitment

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has issued a global rallying call on nations to put forward raised ambitions to tackle the climate emergency as part of a year-long run-up to COP26, with the UK set to publish a 10-point plan to boost green jobs and reach net-zero imminently.

‘No time to waste’: Boris Johnson to set out 10-point plan to boost net-zero commitment

Johnson has commenced a year-long countdown to COP26. Image: Foreign Office flickr

Speaking to start a ‘year-long’ countdown to COP26, which will take place this time next year in Glasgow after being delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, Johnson has noted the need for all nations to act on the climate crisis.

“There is no greater duty for any nation than protecting our people and our planet,” Johnson said. “The pandemic has brought this into sharp focus, but climate change will remain the most enduring threat to the futures of our children and grandchildren – and the world we’re fighting for – if we do not act.”

“We are one year out from hosting the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, bringing countries together to agree bold action to confront global warming…I’m calling on world leaders to put forward their own ambitious commitments to help eradicate our contributions to climate change before we meet in Scotland next November.”

Johnson’s message for heightened action has been boosted over the last few months. Under president-elect Joe Biden, the US is set to re-enter the Paris Agreement and forge out a net-zero target. Last month, Japan and South Korea pledged to legislate for net-zero by 2050 and, previously, the UK, EU and New Zealand have set the same deadline. China, the world’s largest emitter, has committed to reaching peak net emissions by 2030 and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.

In fact, Carbon Brief states that more than 60% of global carbon emissions will be covered by a net-zero ambition because of Biden’s climate commitments.

The UK is in the process of beefing up its own climate commitments. While the nation is targeting net-zero emissions by 2050, it will still have to submit a new Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), which were emission reduction pledges for 2030 that were created for the Paris Agreement in 2015. The UK’s original NDC was submitted as part of the European Union and while pushing towards an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050, rather than the new net-zero target that has since been enshrined into law.

10-point plan

Johnson used his speech to confirm that a 10-point plan would be published “shortly”, detailing how a focus on green markets will “not only create thousands of British jobs but also invigorate our plans to achieve net-zero by 2050”.

The PM has already unveiled plans for every home in the UK to be powered with electricity from offshore wind farms within the decade and has unveiled a £160m pot to support the sector. This commitment has seen the Government increase its 2030 target for installed offshore wind capacity from 30GW to 40GW.

The Financial Times has reported that Johnson’s plan could also cover hydrogen production and infrastructure; carbon capture and storage (CCS); low-carbon synthetic fuels for aviation and small modular reactors. On the latter, the Conservative Party has pledged to create a nuclear fusion facility by 2040.

Johnson is also primed to move the ban on new petrol and diesel car sales forward to 2030 by the end of the year. Under Theresa May, the UK Government had initially introduced the ban on new petrol and diesel car sales with a 2040 deadline. Following criticism from green groups, including its own Committee on Climate Change, over the policy’s alignment with the UK’s 2050 net-zero target, Boris Johnson moved in February to alter the deadline to 2035

Reacting to Boris Johnson’s warning that there is “no time to waste” on climate action, Friends of the Earth climate campaigner Muna Suleiman said: “Urgent action is needed to deal with the climate crisis, which is why Boris Johnson must turn around his government’s failure to keep on track to meet its own target for cutting emissions.

“The Prime Minister’s forthcoming 10-point plan is a real opportunity to show his commitment to a zero-carbon future, but he must abandon climate-wrecking policies too. If Mr Johnson wants to demonstrate global leadership on the climate emergency he can start by ending the £27bn road programme, calling a stop on airport expansion and halting the funding of fossil fuel development overseas.”

Matt Mace

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