Bill introduced to commit Government to Net Zero emissions target

07 June 2019

On Tuesday 11th June, Rachel Reeves MP, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee will present a Bill to Parliament which would commit the Government to reducing UK carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.

Rachel Reeves’ proposed legislation echoes the call from the recent Committee on Climate Change (CCC) report for the UK to end its contribution to global warming within 30 years by setting an ambitious new target to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050.
Achieving a ‘net-zero’ target by 2050 is in line with the UK’s commitment under the Paris Agreement, signed in 2015 to curb the polluting gases that cause climate change.

Chair comments

Rachel Reeves MP, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee said:

“The Committee on Climate Change’s recent report sets out a compelling case for the UK to reach net zero by 2050. The facts are clear. The moral imperative to act for our children and future generations is overwhelming. It’s now time for the Government to commit to this target and then come forward with the policies, actions, and regulations needed to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.  
In the UK we have a golden opportunity to deliver environmental benefits, new jobs, and sustainable green industries, but this won’t happen without a co-ordinated, cross-departmental effort from Government and a cast-iron commitment to achieving a net-zero target. 
In presenting this Bill, I want to bring home to the Government the urgent need to commit to the net-zero 2050 target and give the UK the best possible chance of meeting this challenge. But the reality is that a new Act is not even necessary. If the Government wished, it could bring forward secondary legislation amending the 2008 Climate Change Act to enshrine the net-zero target in law. Strong, early action on cutting carbon emissions considerably outweigh the costs.  
Unwarranted Treasury scepticism shouldn’t block action to achieve net zero. In the final days of her premiership, Theresa May should take this opportunity to take the crucial next step to ending the UK’s contribution to global warming and set out that the whole of Government is committed to achieving net zero by 2050.”

The Climate Change Act 2008 prescribes that economy-wide annual emissions of greenhouse gases in 2050 must be at least 80 per cent lower than 1990 levels. The Bill presented by Rachel Reeves would amend the Climate Change Act 2008 to require net United Kingdom carbon emissions to be net zero by 2050 and to include international aviation and international shipping in the calculation of such emissions. 
Rachel has also published today a draft Statutory Instrument (SI) which would allow the Government to achieve the same outcome of setting the net-zero target in law but do so more speedily, disposing of the need to go through the lengthier parliamentary process needed for a Bill. 

Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee comments

Mary Creagh MP, Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, said:

"Reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 is no longer a lofty eco-warrior ambition, but will require change everywhere, by everyone, in every sector and at speed.  
We owe it to our children to win this fight and we will need greener cities, greener cars, greener diets, greener finance, and a much greener Government. We have the evidence, technology and know-how to reshape how we eat, travel, consume, work and build our future.  
The Government must now legislate to put net-zero into law and I’m proud to support Rachel’s Bill. The longer we delay the harder and more expensive it will be.”

Further information

Image: Pixabay

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