Jun 28, 2020 | Emissions, Government

UK Government not doing enough to meet climate challenge

The UK is far off track to meeting its fair share of emissions under the landmark 2015 Paris agreement. Leading climate scientist Kevin Anderson said “Globally the wealthiest 10% are responsible for half of all emissions, the wealthiest 20% for 70% of emissions. If regulations forced the top 10% to cut their emissions to the level of the average EU citizen, and the other 90% made no change in their lifestyles, that would still cut total emissions by a third…If we were serious about this crisis we could do this in a year – if we were really serious we could do it in a month, but we are not and our emissions just keep rising….Yes, some changes will be needed, but for the majority of people the solutions to this crisis will also improve their lives: long-term job prospects for them and their children, better house quality, better access and more affordable public transport.”

Anderson said that the UK’s use of energy should be zero-carbon by 2035 rather than net zero by 2050 – requiring a scale of transformation bigger than that of Roosevelt’s New Deal or the Marshall plan to reconstruct Europe after the second world war. “Many say that such rapid and deep change is unrealistic – but it’s much more realistic than believing a fair and progressive society can survive with 3, 4 or even 5C of warming,” he said.

See Anderson’s latest report which concludes, amongst other things, that if developed countries are to meet Paris agreements they must fully decarbonise energy by 2035-40.

Asked by the Guardian what measures had been taken towards the UK’s net zero commitment in the past year, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy cited only:

  • The consultation on bringing forward the phaseout of petrol and diesel cars from 2040 to 2035
  • £800m for carbon capture and storage
  • Plans to double the UK’s international climate finance funding from £5.8bn to £11.6bn