- Without near term rapid and radical emissions reductions a long term net zero target would merely be “state sponsored greenwashing”
- The Government should follow the CCC’s advice to not use international offsets
The new report from the Committee on Climate Change advising the Government to set a net zero target, shows the UK no longer needs to choose between taking the moral or pragmatic route when addressing climate change.
The report, published this Thursday, May 2nd, shows that there is a clear path towards the date at which the UK will stop making climate change any worse.
The CCC also sensibly advised against use of a potentially large loophole of using international offset credits from developing countries. This would delay the necessary zero carbon transition in the UK. Previous offset markets have been heavily criticised for their lack of effectiveness and for creating perverse incentives.
Dr Katherine Kramer, Global Climate Adviser at Christian Aid, said it was now a “no brainer” for the Government to show leadership on the most pressing issue facing humanity but warned that 2050 showed a lack of urgency for those most in need:
“As temperatures and sea levels rise around the world and both adults and schoolchildren take to the streets, it’s no surprise there is growing awareness that we’re entering a climate emergency. The report from the Committee on Climate Change provides the Government with a spur to action. And they must act, urgently.
“Reducing emissions rapidly and radically in the near term to reach net zero in the medium term is the only way of stopping climate breakdown. As the first country to industrialise, and one of the richest nations in the world, it’s only right that Britain leads the way out of this current crisis.
“But for many in the developing world, the climate emergency is one they are living through on a daily basis and one they did nothing to cause. If the UK Government wants to show real leadership on the global stage, then it should legislate for a net zero date of 2045 and aim to achieve it sooner. Those in poor countries need us to act quicker.
“The Climate Change Committee report shows that going net zero is doable and affordable. And their report doesn’t even factor in the economic benefits of new low carbon industries such as our growing offshore wind industry. It also doesn’t take into account the benefits of avoiding climate change impacts in the UK and it has been conservative on rates of deployment of innovative technologies”
Dr Kramer said that as important as the end date is the pathway to reach it is also critical.
She said: “The advice has crucially closed a loophole of using international offsets, the idea that emissions can be reduced by buying carbon credits from poor countries. This would have undermined the required transformations to truly achieve the UK’s net zero target so it’s good to see those ruled out.
“It’s essential that as well as choosing the net zero destination the Government takes the fastest route to get there. Without short term action we will never reach this destination on time and the whole exercise will merely be state sponsored greenwashing. It’s vital that the government legislate the target and then put into place an emergency package of policies and investment to reduce emissions as quickly as possible.
“All parties must now press the government to go further and demand a net zero date of 2045.”
Dr Kramer is available for interview.
Thousands are expected to attend The Time is Now mass lobby of Parliament on June 26th to press MPs on net zero legislation. For more information visit https://www.christianaid.org.uk/campaigns/climate-change/join-climate-lobby.