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Drastic new climate change commitments will put the UK on track to cut carbon emissions by 78% by 2035, the UK government has announced.

Reaching the targets would require more electric cars, low-carbon heating, such as air and ground source heat pumps, renewable electricity from solar panels and, for many, cutting down on meat and dairy. For the first time, climate law will be extended to cover international aviation and shipping.

In December 2020, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) published its Sixth Carbon Budget. The Budget covers the period between 2033 and 2037 and has been described by the CCC as the “toughest yet”. The CCC have advised that the UK will need to deliver a 78% reduction in emissions by 2035 if it is to meet its long-term net-zero commitment. In comparison, the UK was originally targeting an 80% reduction by 2050 under the Climate Change Act.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that the target would be introduced based on CCC’s recommendations. It builds on the UK’s new Nationally Determined Contribution to the Paris Agreement, which will see the nation decrease emissions by 68% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.

A notable inclusion in the Sixth Carbon Budget is the UK’s share of international aviation and shipping emissions. Historically, the Government’s emissions reduction efforts only accounted for emissions on a “territorial” basis and therefore only includes those within the UK’s borders, a decision that has drawn criticism from green groups.

The new target will become enshrined in law by the end of June 2021, with legislation set to be introduced to Parliament tomorrow.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We want to continue to raise the bar on tackling climate change, and that’s why we’re setting the most ambitious target to cut emissions in the world.

“The UK will be home to pioneering businesses, new technologies and green innovation as we make progress to net-zero emissions, laying the foundations for decades of economic growth in a way that creates thousands of jobs.”

What Will It Take For The UK To Meet Their New Targets?

The impacts of the coronavirus pandemic delivered an estimated 10.7% reduction in carbon emissions in 2020, with total greenhouse gas emissions almost 50% lower than they were in 1990, the baseline year for the UK’s net-zero target.

Meeting the Budget’s requirements will require all new vehicles and replacement boilers to be zero-carbon in operation by the early 2030s. UK electricity production must then reach net-zero by 2035. In addition to this, the majority of existing homes in the UK will need to be retrofitted through the use of insulation and installation of low-carbon heating to make them more energy efficient.

The CCC has based its calculations on a scenario, in which 40% of the emissions reductions needed will be delivered using pure-technology solutions. However, delivering the remainder of the progress will require lifestyle and behaviour change, such as switching to electric vehicles, reducing demand for flights and cutting back on red meat.

Delivering the UK’s 2050 net-zero target will cost between 0.5% and 1% of GDP. The CCC had previously predicted costs of between 1% and 2% of GDP but has adjusted calculations, in light of cost reductions in sectors such as offshore wind.

The Government will need to allocate £50bn more to decarbonisation each every year until 2030 than it did in 2019, according to the CCC. But, by 2040, savings from fossil fuel allocations will overtake low-carbon costs.

COP26 President Alok Sharma, said: “This hugely positive step forward for the UK sets a gold standard for ambitious Paris-aligned action that I urge others to keep pace with ahead of COP26 in Glasgow later this year. We must collectively keep 1.5 degrees of warming in reach and the next decade is the most critical period for us to change the perilous course we are currently on.

“Long term targets must be backed up with credible delivery plans and setting this net-zero focused Sixth Carbon Budget builds on the world leading legal framework in our Climate Change Act. If we are to tackle the climate crisis and safeguard lives, livelihoods and nature for future generations, others must follow the UK’s example.”

Since moving to our new head office in the heart of Cheshire, the Hero team have taken the renewable sector by storm, achieving multiple awards, such as the Cheshire business award in 2015 and the National renewable heat incentive installer of the year in 2017 as well as sending over 13,000 quotations and fitting an Air source heat pump on a boat.

If you’re looking to go green and receive your free, in-depth quotation for a system that is prefect to your home requirements, then give our team a call today on 0808 222 0 111 to speak to one of the team and get your journey with Hero started.

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