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Climate change: Britain can reduce emissions to near zero by 2050

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With recent protests The attitude towards climate change has changed, say the authors of the report

The UK should lead the global fight against climate change by reducing greenhouse gases to near zero by 2050, according to a report.

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) believes that this is possible at no additional cost

In its report, if other countries follow the UK, there is a 50% chance of meeting the recommended temperature increase of 1

% 5 ° C to 2100 below.

A rise of 1.5 ° C is the threshold for dangerous climate change.

19659007] Some say the target for zero emissions proposed for 2050 is too soft, but others fear that the target could harm the UK economy.

The CCC – the government's independent adviser on climate change issues – said this could not have met the target earlier, 2050 was still a very significant – and positive – goal.

Lead author Chris Stark said to me, "This report would have been unthinkable a few years ago. People laughed out of court for suggesting that the target could be so high. "

The most important change, he said, was the huge drop in the cost of renewable energy generated by government policies to promote solar and wind energy.

He said the BBC's climate documentary David Attenborough, protests by Extinction Rebellion and speeches by adolescent activist Greta Thunberg, have convinced the public that the issue needs urgent action.

But Mr. Stark said that the 2050 goal would not be possible if the government did not set up policies and money to support them.

And he noted that the UK had already slipped off the legal requirement to gradually reduce its emissions by 2032.

The CCC estimates the cost of the new proposal to be tens of billions of pounds a year.

The cost would be 20 to 2050 every year (measured by GDP) only 1-2% of state assets include the benefits of decarbonization – such as clean air and water.

The CCC said that England could reduce emissions by 2050, while Scotland could become carbon-free earlier – until 2045. This is because Scotland has an exceptional potential for planting trees (which absorb carbon dioxide) and carbon dioxide more suitable for the capture and storage of carbon dioxide.

Wales can save only 95% of its emissions by 2050 due to its agricultural industry. Northern Ireland will follow England's goals.

The government is reviewing the report, which has a significant impact on public finances, saying, "This report is now setting us on a path to becoming the first major economy to legislate to contribute to global development finish heating completely ".

How do you achieve zero emissions?

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Media Caption Youth activist Greta Thunberg speaks out against rebellion rally

"Emissions by 2050, ie offsetting CO2 emissions by removing carbon dioxide. In practice, we have to reduce the amount of CO2 we release into the atmosphere. Unavoidable emissions must be captured and stored (for example, when CO2 from a power plant chimney is collected and dumped into the ground) or compensated by planting trees.

So far, the goal was to reduce emissions by 80% compared to 1990 levels by 2050.

How They Affected

The CCC believes that achieving zero emissions from low-carbon technologies and Changes in industry and public behavior.

Here are some recommendations from the report to the public

House heating

The report contains a controversial recommendation: In winter, the home thermostat must be shut down to 19 ° C.

We have to isolate our houses much better. Some of us will use heat pumps – a type of reverse cooling technology that extracts heat from the ground – and convert natural gas boilers into hydrogen pumps.

The committee expects that consumer bills will initially rise and then fall as newer, cheaper electricity generators will be introduced.


The aviation industry is trying to reduce the cost of producing jet fuels from waste materials.

But the CCC says that's not enough. The number of flights is increasing and the report predicts that government action will be needed to slow growth.

However, it is not said how – and the chairman of the committee, John Gummer, questioned the expansion of Heathrow at the start of the report.


The report states that we do not have to overtake our car driving habits, but eventually we will drive electric cars.

The government has set a target date of 2040, from which the sale of conventional cars will be banned. The committee says, however, that the deadline should be 2030.


The committee notes that many people already eat less red meat for the health of the planet and themselves.

It is said that people can reduce their nutritional emissions by 35% when they switch from a meat diet to a meat meal. By 2050, however, only a 20% decline in meat consumption is expected.


Degradable waste should not be disposed of in landfills after 2025. That means we would have to separate all of our waste from leftovers. The report also recommends reducing food waste as much as possible.

What else can I do?

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The report also states that people can take the following steps to reduce their emissions:

  • Choice of whether to walk, cycle or ride public transport
  • Choice of LED – High energy efficiency lamps and appliances
  • Adjustment of water temperature in their heating systems to not more than 55 ° C
  • Only use peat-free compost
  • The selection of high-quality products that last longer, and the sharing of objects, z. Rare of power tools used
  • Review of your pension funds and ISAs to see if your investment supports low-carbon industries

What impact do your food have on the environment?

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Which companies and sectors would be affected?

The big push is the decarbonisation of industry and heat generation. For many of the key issuers exposed to global competition: the steel, paper, aluminum and paper industries, carbon dioxide capture technology is needed.

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Farmers need to look for ways to reduce cows' methane emissions

In the meantime, agriculture has caused greenhouse gases from methane from sheep and cattle and fertilizers.

Farmers would need to reduce pasture land area, increase forests and feed livestock feed that produces less methane gas.

The fracking industry would also be affected – the committee says we should only use fracked gas in the UK if it replaces gas that would otherwise be imported.

What is the answer?

Environmental groups are supportive – though many think that 2050 is too conservative.

The British Health Alliance for Climate Change has urged the US government to accept the recommendations, but "a zero-zero target by 2050".

Lorna Greenwood of Extinction Rebellion said to me, "2050 condemns us to a bleak future … Others are already dying around the world because of inaction and long-range goals."

The environmental campaign group WWF said: "The problem is, we pretended to have time. But if we want a world of coral reefs, safe coastal towns, and enough food for everyone, we have to act now. "



Protesters protesting a" dying "in Glasgow

Business and industry associations have expressed their support, but argue that they need government help.

Rain Newton-Smith, Chief Economist of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), said: "The United Kingdom should do everything possible to mitigate the worst effects of climate change. What we need now is a supportive and timely response from the government to achieve this ambitious goal. "

Minette Batters, President of the Farm Union NFU, told me," We take the climate very seriously. With Brexit and the government's agriculture law, the government can shift agricultural support to farmers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. "

Dr. Shaun Fitzgerald, director of the Royal Institution, said: "I strongly support efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

But he added, "Will people be willing to set their winter time thermostat at 19 ° C? It will be difficult to induce people to compromise on comfort / quality."

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