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UK sets ambitious new climate target ahead of COP26

The UK Government has announced a new ambitious target to reduce the UK’s emissions by at least 68% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.

Boris Johnson
Britain’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. Photo credit: AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali

Recognising the urgency to go further to tackle climate change, the UK’s new target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is among the highest in the world and commits the UK to cutting emissions at the fastest rate of any major economy so far.

The announcement comes ahead of the UK co-hosting the Climate Ambition Summit on Saturday, December 12, 2020, which will coincide with the fifth anniversary of the historic Paris Agreement. The summit calls on countries around the world to submit ambitious NDCs or other climate plans as we head towards the UN COP26 climate talks, which the UK government is hosting in Glasgow next year.

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This new target meets the recommendation of experts at the independent Climate Change Committee who advise the government on emissions targets.

The UK’s path to meeting this target is backed by the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a green industrial revolution, which will create and support up to 250,000 British jobs by 2030. The plan sets out ambitious policies and investment, with the potential to deliver over £40 billion of private investment by 2030, so that we can develop innovative technologies and make significant strides in cutting emissions across energy, transport and buildings. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “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.

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“Today, we are taking the lead with an ambitious new target to reduce our emissions by 2030, faster than any major economy, with our Ten Point Plan helping us on our path to reach it.”

Business and Energy Secretary and COP26 President Alok Sharma said: “The UK’s new emissions target is among the highest in the world and reflects the urgency and scale of the challenge our planet faces. I hope other countries join us and raise the bar at next week’s UN Climate Ambition Summit, and ahead of the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow next year.”

Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are countries’ commitments under the Paris Agreement to reduce emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. To date, 12 countries have submitted new NDCs for 2020, including the Marshall Islands, Suriname, Norway, Moldova, Japan, Singapore, and Chile. 

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These nations pledged, as part of the Paris Agreement, to update their NDCs every five years. This year marks the fifth year since the signing of the agreement and therefore the first test of their intent to commit.

However, due to the pandemic, the UNFCCC’s COP has been delayed to 2021 and with that some countries delaying action on climate commitments.

By Rachel Cooper, Climate Action 

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