The UK has always been one of the pioneering nations when it comes to the climate, including being one of the first countries in the world to set a net-zero emissions target. Of course, what is important to remember is that while setting these targets is a great start, the critical and more difficult matter is hitting them.
There are plenty of sectors where carbon emissions can be reduced to create a net-zero UK, and science is suggesting that it may even be cheaper to do so. Since the 1990s, emissions within the UK have fallen by 40% and are projected to continue to fall as we shift electricity use from coal to gas and offshore wind turbines. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has declared his aim to cut greenhouse gas emissions by a further 68-9% by 2030.
Renewables are growing cheaper, and it’s assumed we will continue to invest in green energy and carbon capture to power our country. However, the target remains ambitious, with emissions from transport, buildings, manufacturing and agriculture much higher and where cuts need to be made.
The 2020s will see niche technologies become mainstream, from heat pumps to electric cars to carbon capture schemes. Buildings must be retrofitted and trees planted. In the transport sectors, electric and diesel cars will already be banned by 2030, and looking on the positive side of the COVID-19 pandemic, it proved people can work from home which reduces the miles driven each day.
85% of the British public are worried about Climate Change according to a 2019 study and more recently two thirds of Britons said they believed it as serious a threat as coronavirus. This overwhelming public support shows people are prepared for change so long as policy is fair.
The UK is set to host the postponed UN Climate Conference in 2021 and Boris Johnson is believed to hope his recent flurry of targets and announcements will encourage other countries to do the same. If the world aims to limit global warming to the two-degree target, the time to act is now.