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UK aims for ‘net-zero’ carbon emissions by 2050

Government commits to reducing emissions to basically nothing over next 30 years

The government is today introducing legislation that will obligate Britain to reduce carbon emissions to ‘net-zero’ by 2050 – meaning emissions we can’t completely eliminate will need to be offset by, for example, planting trees.

This makes the UK the first major economy – and G7 member – to legally commit to going carbon-neutral. Norway and Finland have pledged to go carbon-neutral by 2030 and 2035, Scotland by 2045 and France by 2050. The government’s original target, proposed in the Climate Change Act of 2008, was a reduction of 80 per cent.

The UK’s Committee on Climate Change, which recommended the 2050 target, says that if more countries follow the UK, there’s a 50 per cent chance we could stave off a potentially dangerous 1.5 degree temperature increase until past 2100.

Going totally carbon-neutral obviously means people’s lifestyles will have to change, not least the way they get about the place. The government has already said sales of petrol and diesel cars will be banned by 2040, but are facing calls to bring this date forwards by as much as a decade. Then there’s the issue of infrastructure, and how the necessary electricity will be generated.

SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said “the transition in markets and manufacturing capabilities, however, needs to be managed carefully”. Achieving the government’s target requires “significant investment in infrastructure, long term consumer incentives and further policies and financial commitments that encourage drivers into new vehicles and technologies”.

What are your thoughts, How are we going to be getting around in 30 years’ time?

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