The UK becomes the first G7 country to enshrine the target in law and a youth steering group is being set up to give young people a chance to shape climate policy.
The UK has announced a legally binding target to eradicate its net contribution to climate change by 2050.
It will make Britain the first G7 country to legislate to achieve a net zero emissions economy and set an end date to contributing to global warming entirely. This will amend the Climate Change Act 2008.
The 2050 net-zero goal followed a recommendation from the independent Committee on Climate Change, an advisor to the UK and its devolved governments and parliaments.
“As the first country to legislate for long-term climate targets, we can be truly proud of our record in tackling climate change. We have made huge progress in growing our economy and the jobs market while slashing emissions,” said Theresa May, outgoing prime minister.
“This country led the world in innovation during the Industrial Revolution, and now we must lead the world to a cleaner, greener form of growth. Standing by is not an option. Reaching net zero by 2050 is an ambitious target, but it is crucial that we achieve it to ensure we protect our planet for future generations.”
Other major economies are expected to follow suit, but it is imperative that they do so, the Government cautioned.
For that reason, the UK said it plans to conduct a further assessment within five years to confirm that other countries are taking similarly ambitious action, “multiplying the effect” of the UK’s lead and ensuring that the nation’s industries do not face unfair competition.
“Some sectors will need clear pathways to enable investment in low-carbon technologies, and it is vital that there is cross-government coordination on the policies and regulation needed to deliver a clean future”
For the first time, young people will also have the chance to shape the UK’s future climate policy through the Youth Steering Group.
The group, set up by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and led by the British Youth Council, will advise government on priorities for environmental action. It will also provide a view on progress to date against existing commitments on climate, waste and recycling, and biodiversity loss.
Businesses, academics and people across society have endorsed the advice from the Committee on Climate Change.
“UK business stands squarely behind the Government’s commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Climate leadership can drive UK competitiveness and secure long-term prosperity. This legislation must be followed by a commitment to long-term policies that support decarbonisation across the economy,” said Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general, CBI
“Some sectors will need clear pathways to enable investment in low-carbon technologies, and it is vital that there is cross-government coordination on the policies and regulation needed to deliver a clean future.”
She continued: “[But] this legislation is the right response to the global climate crisis, and firms are ready to play their part in combating it.”
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