Today, June 12, 2019, the UK Government has reaffirmed its commitment to cut down greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to almost zero by 2050, making it the first major nation to aim for this goal.
Cutting GHG emissions at this level is not only expected to contribute to climate change mitigation but would also benefit public health and cut NHS costs.
This new target takes the UK further than its previous 2050 one, which aimed to cut emissions by 80%. It proposes net zero emissions, which means that emissions from all sources (homes, agriculture, transportation, industry) will have to be completely avoided or at least offset by investment in tree plantation or carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. Chancellor Philip Hammond has estimated that this will come at a cost of GBP one trillion by 2050. According to Chris Skidmore, the acting energy minister, it would amount to between 1 and 2% of the UK’s GDP, the same amount earmarked to reach the previous 80% reduction target.
Some are of the view that 2050 might be too late.
Image: Lukas Bieri from Pixabay