UK to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions 68% By 2030

PM Boris Johnson says the move will create hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Photo by Sabrina Mazzeo on Unsplash

First to approve a COVID vaccine earlier this week, and now, the UK announces an aggressive climate change policy. It’s aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 68 percent from 1990 levels by 2030.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the targets “ambitious,” — they are more zealous than those of the EU.

“We have proven we can reduce our emissions and create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the process – uniting businesses, academics, NGOs and local communities in a common goal to go further and faster to tackle climate change,” he said.

“Today, we are taking the lead with an ambitious new target to reduce our emissions by 2030 faster than any major economy.”

This new target, the Nationally Determined Contribution, or NDC, fulfills Paris Agreement obligations. Those targets aim to keep the planet below the 2 degrees Celsius mark over pre-industrial levels. The UK had previously aimed for an NDC of 53 percent.

The UK is already making strides in its effort to reduce emissions. Last year it reduced emissions 45 percent over 1990 levels. To achieve the new targets, it will need to double up; it will require a 50 percent increase in effort. The biggest areas for improvement include air travel and agriculture, particularly livestock production.

“The Prime Minister is right to have set one of the most ambitious climate targets in the world,” John Sauven, Greenpeace UK’s executive director, said in a statement.

“But given the urgency of the climate crisis and the rapid advances in zero carbon solutions, ambition can be pushed even higher over the next decade,” he added. “The government must now increase the action needed to cut emissions from our homes, roads, farms and power sources in the UK.”

The announcement comes ahead of the Climate Ambition Summit happening later this month. The UK will co-host the event. It also comes ahead of the COP26 climate summit, happening in Glasgow next November.

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