Translating this long term target into economy-wide
transformative policies and investment
The UK’s decision to legislate a target to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 is a progressive move and must now take pole position on the UK’s political platform to bring the UK regions and industry together in pursuit of a common aim.
The target has made the UK the first major economy to legislate such a goal and this provides a solid framework to tackle the UK’s contribution to climate change. Alongside Extinction Rebellion, the school climate strikes and the declaration of a climate emergency in multiple regions around the country, there is a sense of real momentum which the government has responded to with a concrete net zero goal.
The net zero legislation has in fact been in the pipeline for a number of years, with the IPCC’s 2018 SR15 report on the impact of 1.5 degrees of warming followed by advice from the Committee on Climate Change on how the UK can decarbonise in line with the 1.5-degree target. The focus is now moving towards implementation – the July report from the CCC on the UK’s current emission reduction efforts suggests actions to date have fallen short of what is needed for the previous targets, and well short of those required for net-zero. A decarbonisation step change will be necessary in critical sectors such as buildings and transport where emissions have remained broadly stable.
To make change possible and meet the goal of net zero, an understanding of local areas remains an issue that is highly important. How a region is able to effectively transition and meet goals is contextual and needs to take into consideration local business, the available opportunity and infrastructure, and economic options.
A further consideration is the need to ensure a smooth transition for skilled workers in sectors expected to be impacted by the transition towards net zero.
The UK government, particularly HM Treasury and local governments, will now have a critical role to play in translating this long term target into economy-wide transformative policies and investment.
Author Nick Witts,
PR, Media & Communications – Climate Specialist at Treasure Earth Prize