Thu, Jun 13, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Britain to legislate 2050 deadline for carbon neutrality


British Prime Minister Theresa May arrives for her statement at the 108th session of the International Labour Conference Centenary Session at the UN’s European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, on Tuesday.

Photo: EPA-EFE

The British government yesterday presented draft legislation to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 in what it said would be a first for a major economy.

The target was welcomed across the political spectrum, but environmental groups said that it would require radical action.

The deadline is far more ambitious than Britain’s current policy of cutting emissions by 80 percent over the same period.

The 2050 date is to be introduced in climate change laws through legislation known as a statutory instrument, which parliament is expected to approve.

“As the first country to legislate for long-term climate targets, we can be truly proud of our record in tackling climate change,” British Prime Minister Theresa May said.

Britain’s top advisory body on climate change this year said that the target could be achieved within a budget of 1 to 2 percent of GDP by 2050.

However, the Committee on Climate Change added that the deadline would require the rapid rollout of policies such as making all new vehicles electric by 2035 and quadrupling low-carbon electricity production.

“This step will send a strong signal to other countries to follow suit,” committee chairman John Gummer said.

Confederation of British Industry director-general Carolyn Fairbairn said that companies were “squarely behind” the commitment, but urged the government to create long-term policies.

If replicated across the world and coupled with near-term emissions reductions, there would be a greater than 50 percent chance of limiting a temperature increase to 1.5°C, the committee said.

Meanwhile, Japan joined Britain in pledging to become carbon neutral later this century, but critics blasted the plan as unambitious, as it only pledges to meet the goal some time after the middle of the century.

The policy, adopted by the Cabinet on Tuesday, is expected to be submitted to the UN before the nation hosts a G20 summit in Osaka later this month.

While it says that renewable energy would become a mainstay, it adds that coal-fired plants would remain operational.

Japan would keep a pledge to reduce greenhouse gas by 80 percent by 2050 from 2010 levels and seek to make renewable energy a major source of electricity.

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