Energy and clean growth minister Claire Perry has responded to ongoing climate protests by the Extinction Rebellion group.
Perry said she accepts that urgent action to curb carbon emissions is necessary, and welcomed the pressure on government to act. However, she pointed out that the UK has already made progress in reducing emissions since passing the Climate Change Act, decarbonising faster than any other G20 country, with the UK’s low carbon economy also growing two to three times faster than the economy as a whole (though these numbers are disputed).
The Act sets a legally binding target of 80% emissions reductions on 1990 levels by 2050.
Perry added that the Committee on Climate Change’s report into the feasibility of a net zero target, due to be published next week, would inform government’s next steps. It is expected to call for a net zero target by 2050.
Perry pointed out that the independent committee has previously questioned the technical and financial feasibility of achieving net zero, as recommended last October by the IPCC. She said it will be “extremely interesting to see what has changed and how we can rise to that challenge”.
Extinction Rebellion protesters want government to commit to a 2025 net zero target. While theoretically possible, it is highly unlikely to happen. However, Perry and others will welcome the pressure on government, as it will provide greater ammunition to justify larger budgets for decarbonisation initiatives.
See Perry’s statement here.