In 2019 the UK became the first major economy to commit to becoming net zero by 2050, however, now 4 years on, we are not on track to achieve this according to the Aldersgate Group’s Net Zero Policy Tracker published in June 2023.
Becoming net zero (reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by at least 100%) is arguably one of the greatest challenges that we are facing right now, but despite the growing pressure of this and making a legal commitment, it seems as though the UK are going to be unable to deliver.
Since passing the law, we have seen some very positive steps in the right direction, such as;
- We saw a couple of months with no coal usage, when we were previously getting 40% of our electricity from coal just a decade ago.
- We have seen the introduction of more renewables and in 2019, half the UKs electricity was generated from low carbon technologies
- In 2021, the UK also set themselves an additional challenge of reducing emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels.
Despite these actions, there is still a long way to go to achieve the set targets. Progress has recently slowed due to the effects of the war in Ukraine on the economy and the cost-of-living crisis. It is also likely that there will be an increased demand for electricity by 40-60% by 2035.
Unfortunately, this has meant that the UK are only predicted to have a reduction of 92% of the promised emissions by 2030 under its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and the current policies are being questioned as to whether they will be enough to meet the Climate Change Committee’s Sixth Carbon Budget. Therefore, work is being pushed in terms of ensuring the biggest polluters pay the most and that those who are more vulnerable are provided with additional support.
Overall, it is clear that steps are being taken but it is not enough due to the continuing increase in global greenhouse gas emissions. With climate change and net zero being more publicly spoken about and the rate of environmental issues increasing dramatically, it is obvious that there’s a lot of pressure to do more. Following on from the Government’s Energy Security Day on 30 March 2023, the government have made various new commitments across a range of sectors and pathways to address these issues up to 2037.
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