28 Jun Target to Slash Greenhouse Emissions to Net Zero by 2050 becomes UK Law
Britain’s new target to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 has now become an official UK law, making us the first amongst the major G7 countries to do so. .
In order for us to hit this target, we have to put an end to heating homes with traditional gas boilers, switch from petrol and diesel cars to electric vehicles, and use more green electricity. The UK kicked started the industrial revolution, which was responsible for economic growth across the globe, but also for increasing emissions. The UK are the first economy to pass laws to reduce emissions to net zero by 2050, while remaining committed to the growing economy and the Green Industrial Revolution.
Net zero means cutting all of our emissions down as close to zero as we can get and doing so by using methods to take greenhouse gasses out of the atmosphere to offset the remaining pollution by planting trees which absorb carbon dioxide.
Any emissions are now going to be balanced by greenhouse gas offsetting schemes such as planting trees or using technology like low carbon to capture and store emissions. This in effect balances the levels of the gases in the atmosphere. The law has come into force after it passed the House of Commons and House of Lords this week.
Mr Chris Skidmore MP, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation signed the order paper for the new legislation added “we’re pioneering the way for other countries to follow in our footsteps driving prosperity by seizing the economic opportunities of becoming a greener economy.”
The government are planning on holding a Green Great Britain week on November 4thto encourage all corners of the country and sectors of society to play their part in meeting the new targets.
The net zero target replaces a previous government goal to cut the countries emissions by 80% compared with 1990 levels by 2050, this was a target to which campaigners said didn’t go far enough to meet pledges made under the 2015 Paris climate change agreement to try to limit a rise in global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Temperatures already have risen by 1 degree Celsius since pre industrial times.
The reason in which the government are doing this is to keep temperatures from rising to more than 1.5 degrees Celsius in the long term, countries are going to have to cut carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 with steep cuts in other greenhouse gasses such as methane.
If we don’t stick to our net zero target, then temperatures could begin to rise in the atmosphere, this means we would experience extreme heatwaves, flooding, we would have a greater loss in crop yields and wildlife, and we would raise the risk of large scale irreversible impacts such as melting ice sheets which will eventually push up sea levels.
So far, we have already cut emissions to 42% on 1990 levels which is a result of reducing pollution from generating electricity with a switch from coal and beginning to use renewables. However, much less progress has been made in cutting pollution from heating homes. Transport emissions have virtually remained at the same levels since 1990. Electric vehicles are now becoming more popular and reliable which is beneficial to the environment because it is one step towards making more of a change.
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