Boris Johnson faces a new test of his green commitments as the UK prepares to submit its national plan on future carbon emissions, ahead of crucial UN climate negotiations.
Pressure is mounting on the Prime Minister to come up with an ambitious national target known as the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to dramatically cut emissions by 2030, as the UK will host the postponed Cop26 summit. ‘next year.
UN Secretary General Antnio Guterres spoke Thursday on the need for developed countries to strengthen their ambition. In a speech to the European Council on external relations, he said: By the start of 2021, countries accounting for over 65% of global carbon dioxide emissions and over 70% of the global economy will have made ambitious commitments in terms of carbon neutrality.
But we are still behind in the race against time. Every country, city, financial institution and business should adopt plans to go to net zero emissions by 2050. We need to see these plans well in advance of Cop26, especially the CDNs required by the Paris agreement.
Nicholas Stern, author of the historical journal of the economics of climate change and chairman of the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics, told the Guardian that the UK should aim for a 70% reduction in emissions by 2030 , compared to 1990. levels.
Green activists want to see a carbon cut of over 70% adopted as UK policy. Ed Matthew, associate director of thinktank E3G, pointed out recent report from WWF and Imperial Oil which concluded that a significant reduction by 2030 was possible.
This shows that a 72% reduction is feasible, but it does not take into account how British innovation and ingenuity could deliver even more, he said. The recent exciting news about Covid vaccines shows what can be achieved when we mobilize political will and scientific effort. The impossible can be possible. This is why our [national plan] must focus on maximum ambition.
Caterina Brandmayr, head of climate policy at the Green Alliance, added: We believe the UK should announce [a target] at least 72%, including international aviation and shipping. The objective must be achieved through national action and must not be based on international compensation.
She said Johnson also needs to go further than the 10-point plan announced this week, with a fully articulated strategy and more funding.
Basically it should be accompanied by an ambitious policy, including a net zero strategy released long before COP26, and increased financing for climate and nature, we estimate the government should invest an additional 24 billion per year over the next four years. A comprehensive approach would not only ensure effective decarbonization, but also support an economic recovery that promotes low-carbon industries and jobs, she said.
The Treasury reportedly hesitated to commit more money to key aspects of the Prime Minister’s 10-point plan to move to a low-carbon economy. The key question is whether those who want slower climate action will win the Prime Minister.
The 10-point plan would still leave the UK behind Spain and the EU in the global green recovery, and tied with France for third place in a global ranking prepared by Vivid Economics for the Guardian , which also revealed the world continued to sink. money in fossil fuels.
If the UK were still an EU member state, it would be part of the block-sharing deal on carbon reductions. The EU will likely formalize an overall emissions reduction target of 55% for 2030, which would imply emissions reductions for the UK of over 65%, on which some members of the government are basing their calculations. The climate change commission also estimated the UK could hit a 65% target in a report last year, although it is expected to revise its figures.
But a target of less than 70% would be seen by some other countries as not setting a good example.
Johnson must act quickly to resolve divergent views on the UK’s ambition for its 2030 target, ahead of a meeting he called of world leaders in December, experts told The Guardian. An unambitious target would be seen as a bad indicator of the British presidency of the upcoming UN climate negotiations.
Stern said the prime minister showed his commitment to a low-carbon economy in his 10-point plan. [He] now understands it’s a story of growth, not a burden, Stern said. But it requires solid investment and innovation.
As part of the Paris climate agreement, all countries must come forward by the end of this year with strengthened commitments to reduce emissions, in line with the objective of limiting temperature increases well in below 2 ° C, with an aspiration to stay within 1.5 ° C levels. The current commitments, made in 2015, would lead to 3C of heating, which scientists say would have catastrophic consequences.
In recent weeks, China and Japan have pledged to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. This will meet the long-term targets required by Paris, but still leaves questions about short-term commitments on specific emission reductions over the next decade.
Johnson and his ministers and officials have repeatedly urged other countries to come up with their NDCs.
The Guardian understands that the UK intends to release its NDC ahead of a crucial meeting of world leaders next month, which will be hosted by Johnson and Guterres. The climate ambition summit will take place on December 12, the fifth anniversary of the signing of the Paris Agreement.
The virtual meeting of world leaders is seen as a crucial step on the way to Cop26, the UN climate summit which was due to start last week but, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, is to be held in next November in Glasgow.
Countries are expected to submit their NDCs by the end of this year, so that the UN and scientific experts will have time to review them in detail ahead of Cop26.
However, the UK is likely to run very close to its own December 12 summit deadline. Indeed, the commission on climate change, statutory advisers to governments, will report on a sixth carbon budget for the period 2033-2037 on December 9. Ministers should wait until then before announcing Britain’s NDC.
Chris Stark, chief executive of the committee, told The Guardian: In order for us to be a good chair of these discussions, a good chair, I think we need to have a solid set of national plans to reduce emissions here in the UK.