The government is reportedly set to announce an acceleration of the UK’s drive towards carbon neutrality sought by the middle of the century.
By 2035 the Johnson administration now wants the country to achieve a 78% cut in 1990-level carbon emissions, according to reports. Aviation and shipping will for the first time come within the scope of the legally binding reduction targets, Whitehall insiders say.
The new goal replaces the previous benchmark of 68% carbon cuts by 2030. It reflects advice in the sixth five-yearly carbon budget from independent scientists on the Committee on Climate Change. In December the CCC urged that by the end of this decade, Britain should have spent £500bn on combating climate change, including converting power supply, home heating and transport over to carbon-free electricity.
The CCC’s published recommendations envisage half the cars on Britain’s roads being electric by 2030, and up to 10,000 wind turbines in the North Sea. Taxpayer subsidies will be needed to strip gas boilers from the country’s 26 million homes, the body argued.
Government media representatives declined to confirm today’s leak to the Guardian, saying only the government would set its ambitions “shortly”.
But as Britain seeks to persuade governments towards more specific pledges in advance of November’s COP26 summit in Glasgow, Johnson and his former energy secretary, summit chair Ashok Sharma are believed to be eager to reverse recent bad publicity for Britain’s progress in cutting emissions.
Critics point to last month’s collapse of the green home grants scheme, to new licences granted to extract oil and gas from the North Sea, airport expansion. Johnson’s slashing of overseas aid to 0.5% of GDP is making it harder, diplomats say, to persuade poorer countries to commit to emissions cuts.