Today the Committee on Climate Change published their much-anticipated report on a ‘Net Zero’ UK.
The Climate Change Act is now more than a decade old, and the ambition of its targets lags behind those of a growing number of other states, and behind the latest science.
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) recommends scrapping the target central to the Climate Change Act of reducing our emissions by 80% by 2050 – and replacing it with a net zero by 2050 goal. This would be the strictest legally binding climate target of any leading economy, bringing the UK firmly back into climate leadership.
Crucially, the report outlines the ‘how’ as well as the ‘when’. Priority areas where more progress is needed include agriculture and changing the way we use our land as well as deployment of low-carbon heating systems and driving forward Carbon Capture and Storage technologies.
Action in the land sector is crucial to achieve the removal, as well as reduction, of carbon emissions that we need to achieve a net zero target. The CCC point out that although we are currently committed to increase forest cover by 20,000 hectares/year across the UK nations, these targets are not being delivered – but to achieve a net zero target, we will need to go beyond these. This includes developing incentives for around a fifth of the land currently used for agriculture for afforestation, peatland restoration, and biomass production.
As Chris Stark, the CCC’s Chief Executive said ahead of the report “If there was ever an idea that we could approach this as a ‘sequential’ transition – moving from Power, to Transport, to Heat, to Industry and Agriculture – then that thought needs to be re-examined.”
At ClimateCare, we are responding to this urgency, and to the importance of the land-based ‘Natural Climate Solutions’ highlighted in the CCC report such as peatland restoration and afforestation, by calling for a UK carbon market in partnership with Rewilding Britain. By putting a price of carbon, this market-based approach would both drive emissions reductions, and provide a new stream of funding to deliver ecosystem restoration, cutting carbon and protecting our natural systems.
We are all part of the transition to net zero. Taking part in this shift to a low-carbon economy requires deep reductions in emissions, and innovative approaches to achieving this, such as a UK carbon market. But real ambition means taking action now. To take full responsibility for your climate impact now, contact the team at ClimateCare.