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Theresa May announces net zero emissions goal for 2050

14 June 2019

UK Prime Minister Theresa May will put a proposal to parliament today committing the country to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Britain is to become the first major economy to adopt laws that requiring a cut in fossil-fuel emissions to zero by 2050 to fight climate change.

The statutory instrument that will amend the Climate Change Act of 2008 will be laid in Parliament on 12 June. This country led the world in innovation during the Industrial Revolution, and now we must lead the world to a cleaner, greener form of growth.

"Standing by is not an option", she added.

For the first time, young people will have the chance to shape our future climate policy through the Youth Steering Group.

The announcement of the net zero by 2050 target comes despite complaints by Chancellor Phillip Hammond last week over the cost of implementing the target.

But it was "imperative" other countries follow suit, so there will be a review within five years to ensure other nations are taking similarly ambitious action, and that British industries are not facing unfair competition. The PM will also meet young science and engineering students today to discuss the ambitious new target, which is based on advice from independent experts the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), commissioned by the government in October. This will allow the United Kingdom to offset domestic emissions by paying for cuts in other countries.

"At a time when society is increasing concerns about climate change and the need for action, energy demand and carbon emissions are growing at their fastest rate for years", Dale said at a press briefing in London, according to the Guardian.

The UK Government has introduced a new plan to tackle the problem of climate change. That means emissions from homes, transport, farming and industry will have to be avoided completely or - in the most hard examples - offset by planting trees or sucking Carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

"Some sectors will need clear pathways to enable investment in low-carbon technologies, and it is vital that there is cross-government coordination on the policies and regulation needed to deliver a clean future".

Ken Hunnisett, Project Director and Head of Public Sector at Triple Point Investment Management, said: "Heat networks can play a huge role in the achievement of this target".

The UK has been one of the more successful countries in the world at cutting emissions and intends to stop burning coal for power generation by 2025.

Stephen Marcos Jones, UKPIA Director-General, called on the Government to work with industry to realise the new target. To do this, we need to see both policy and industry leadership to ensure the built environment is at the vanguard of emissions reductions.

The report also advises the United Kingdom to quadruple its renewable energy generation capacity, improve biodiversity, and introducing carbon capture and storage (CCS) at scale. We now have the chance to put the United Kingdom, and its engineers, as leaders and deliver real solutions to these complex problems. "This target presents an opportunity to develop a world-leading green economy, upskill the current workforce and prepare the next generation to step up to this challenge".

In the wake of the committee's recommendations, scientists, campaigners and health professionals have been urging the Prime Minister to bring in a net zero target before she stands down, as a legacy of her premiership.

Theresa May announces net zero emissions goal for 2050