UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a new target to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the UK by 78% on 1990 levels by 2035.
Announcing the target, which is set to become law, the Prime Minister described it as ‘the most ambitious target to cut emissions in the world’ and said the UK wanted to see other world leaders follow in setting similar targets in the run-up to the COP26 UN climate change conference.
The new target would be in line with the recommendations published last year by the Climate Change Committee for the Government’s sixth carbon budget. It has been recommended that widespread changes are needed in order to meet the target, including the switch to electric vehicles, more offshore windpower and a reduction in people’s meat and dairy consumption.
As part of the new target, climate law is to be extended to cover international aviation and also shipping for the first time. Up until now, the UK had been planning to achieve the target, but not until 15 years later in 2050.
The new target would put the UK in a world-leading position, though some have criticised the Government. Speaking about the new target Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said, “The most glaring problem with the plan is Ministers’ failure to address what’s driving the climate emergency: an outdated and exploitative economic system that treats our planet and natural world as peripheral to our lives and, worse, expendable.”
Labour’s Shadow Business & Energy Secretary Ed Miliband said that the Government upgrading its climate targets is ‘welcome’ but said ‘targets are no substitute for a plan.’
The new target is set to be enshrined in law by the end of June, with new legislation to be laid in Parliament later this week.