There have been two really important developments in tackling climate change this week.

No 1: Parliament has backed a motion by the Labour Party to declare a climate emergency in the UK. It also “calls on the government to aim to achieve net-zero emissions before 2050 and for ministers to outline urgent proposals to restore the UK’s natural environment and deliver a “zero waste economy” within the next six months.” Read more >

No 2: The UK’s Committee on Climate Change (which advises the govt) has said it would be possible for the UK to cut carbon emissions to ‘nearly zero’ by 2050. The report’s author said, however, that there was no way the 2050 target would be achieved unless the government backed it with policies and money. Read more > 

CAfS view

What’s our take on this at CAfS? Well, as you’d expect, we welcome the call for rapid and meaningful action on climate change and we support the UK’s declaration of a climate and environmental emergency. We would want the time frames for decarbonising to be more ambitious, however.

October’s report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change leaves us with no doubt about the urgency of the situation and the fact that every year of delay takes us closer to tipping points in our earth’s climate system, and costs lives.

Globally we must cut emissions to zero by 2050 and, given the UK’s historically high emissions, we must decarbonise far more rapidly than the global average.

Cutting UK emissions to net zero by 2030 is not only technically feasible, but brings a whole host of benefits in terms of health and jobs, and we would like to see a more ambitious timescale for emission reduction.