According to the official climate watchdog, the United Kingdom will not be able to fulfill its “historic climate pledges” if it doesn’t immediately put in place policies to achieve its goal of decarbonizing its economy.
Thursday, the Climate Change Committee that advises the government about emissions targets, warned in its annual Progress Report that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government was not living up to its climate crisis rhetoric.
It stated that “this defining year for UK’s climate credentials was marred by uncertainty, delay to a host new climate strategies”, in a statement. “The few that have emerged have often failed to meet the mark. It is becoming harder for the UK to get back on track after each month of inaction.
This report is coming just months before Britain hosts COP26, where countries will be expected to make commitments to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Alok Sharma, President of COP26, and a member of Johnson’s Cabinet told Daily Reuters in April he wanted countries to “detailly outline their plans.”
The United Kingdom is a climate leader. It was the first major economy in the world to pass laws in 2019, making it mandatory for the country to be a climate leader. Zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 The UK announced last year that it would achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.banThe committee recommended that new gasoline and diesel cars be sold starting in 2030. This was to move forward the previous deadline by five years and set one of the most ambitious targets in the world. However, the committee found that delays to crucial legislation and plans to decarbonize domestic heating, buildings, and transport have hampered these “important statements” of ambition. It stated that there is a pattern of Government strategies being delayed than expected and not having the necessary policy ambition when they emerge.
Johnson’s 10-point plan to create a “green industrial revolution” was cited by the committee as an example of an ambitious declaration that has yet to be supported with concrete policies.
The statement was made by Lord Deben, chair of the Climate Change Committee. He stated that “The Government must be realistic about delivery.” He added that “Between now COP26, the world will be looking for delivery, and no promises.”
A spokesperson for the UK government challenged that sentiment in a statement. She pointed out “clear, tangible advances” in areas like wind power investment, carbon emission trading, and business commitments to be net-zero by 2050, or earlier.
The spokesperson stated that any suggestion that we have been slow in implementing climate action is highly inaccurate. “We have reduced emissions by 44% over the last three decades — the fastest reduction of any G7 nation — and set ambitious goals for the future while driving net-zero global through our COP26 presidency.
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The committee offered over 200 policy recommendations in its reports and said that the government still had time to correct its mistakes.
The committee stated that there was still time to create comprehensive plans. “It is crucial that the new strategy be published before the COP26 Climate Summit, with clear policy plans and fully supported by the Treasury.