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UK government commits to reach net zero carbon emissions target by 2050

The UK government has decided to enshrine in law its commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, a recent news report has been able to suggest.

The change would make the UK the first major global economy to set a net zero emissions target in law, a move the government hopes would secure the UK’s position as a global leader in the fight against climate change and encourage other leading economies to follow suit.

The move follows a landmark report last month from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), which concluded a net zero target was technically feasible, in line with the Paris Agreement, and could be achieved at a cost of around one to two per cent of GDP in 2050, before co-benefits are considered.

“This country led the world in innovation during the Industrial Revolution, and now we must lead the world to a cleaner, greener form of growth,” UK Prime Minister May said in a statement announcing the decision. “Standing by is not an option. Reaching net zero by 2050 is an ambitious target, but it is crucial that we achieve it to ensure we protect our planet for future generations.”

Doug Parr, the chief scientist for Greenpeace UK, said the target was “a big moment for everyone in the climate movement” and a legacy May could be proud of. However, he said the “loopholes” of allowing international carbon credits would need to be unpicked and the target date moved forward.

“As the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, it is right that the UK is the world’s first major economy to commit to completely end its contribution to climate change, but trying to shift the burden to developing nations through international carbon credits undermines that commitment,” he said. “This type of offsetting has a history of failure and is not, according to the government’s climate advisers, cost-efficient.”

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