United Kingdom commits to 'net zero'emissions by 2050

Theresa May the Prime Minister

"We must lead the world to a cleaner, greener form of growth".

Energy UK chief executive Lawrence Slade said: "This exciting commitment from the government to meeting the 2050 net-zero target will see the UK continue its world-leading role in tackling climate change, and the energy sector is ready to lead further progress which will deliver benefits for the environment, the economy and customers".

"As the first country to legislate for long-term climate targets, we can be truly proud of our record in tackling climate change", Prime Minister Theresa May was quoted as saying in a statement. The radical move recommended by the government's climate-change adviser has won backing from across the political spectrum even as debate about leaving the European Union roiled United Kingdom lawmakers.

Britain's independent climate advisers, the Committee on Climate Change, last month said that the country should move to the new target, which would require more renewable electricity generation and could require the phasing out of new petrol and diesel cars by at least 2035. That was agreed by MPs under the Climate Change Act in 2008, but will now be amended to the new, much tougher, goal. The chair of Green Christian, Paul Bodenham, said that the United Kingdom should be aiming to reach net zero within six years: "If the United Kingdom is serious about worldwide leadership, we must acknowledge the debt our country owes to poorer nations and to the young and unborn".

The announcement today makes it clear that using worldwide carbon credits in support of the 2050 goal would be one piece of the puzzle, while "it will be for future governments to determine the precise direction of future climate policy".

"The target must now be reinforced by credible United Kingdom policies, across government, inspiring a strong response from business, industry and society as a whole".

"Investing in the right transport policies is absolutely key to decarbonising our city regions and achieving this net zero goal. This can only happen with consistent and bold policy-making from across all government departments to support the target and we look forward to working with the Government to achieve our shared ambition".

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The regional Welsh government in the United Kingdom has also committed to the net zero goal.

The president of the National Farmers' Union, Minette Batters, has pledged that her sector will be net zero by 2040.

"Using global credits within an appropriate monitoring, reporting and verification framework is the right thing to do for the planet, allowing the U.K.to maximise the value of each pound spent on climate change mitigation", the government statement said. This type of offsetting has a history of failure and is not, according the government's climate advisors, cost efficient.

"But it is disappointing that the government has ignored its climate advisors recommendation to exclude carbon offsets - as well as caving into Treasury pressure to review the target in five years' time".

In the wake of widespread climate strikes by schoolchildren and students, the Government is also setting up a Youth Steering Group for young people to advise it on priorities for environmental action.

"Municipalities are on the front lines of climate change, and according to the IPCC report this will have major impacts on the health of our communities, our economies and our infrastructure".

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