Originally published on Sustainnovate.
The UK government will be enshrining the net-zero emissions climate change goal that resulted from the COP21 talks in Paris into law, following advice from the Committee on Climate Change, according to recent reports.
The news was revealed by the UK’s Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom to the House of Commons earlier this week.
Leadsom commented that the government was working to “build on the momentum of Paris” — and also that a plan for the means of putting the net-zero emissions goal into law would be forthcoming sometime later in 2016.
The implication of this all is that the UK’s legal target for emissions reductions will be increased from an 80% reduction (as compared to 1990 levels) by the year 2050 to a net-zero target by the same date.
“The government believes that we will need to take the step of enshrining the Paris goal for net-zero emissions in UK law,” stated Leadsom. “The question is not whether but how we do it. There is an important set of questions to be answered before we do. The Committee on Climate Change is looking at the implications of the commitments in Paris and has said it will report in the Autumn. We will want to consider carefully the recommendations of the Committee.”
To become truly “net-zero” the UK would need to somehow completely decarbonize sectors such as agriculture, heating, and transportation. Not a simple task to do so, while still remaining internationally competitive. Of course there are a number of loopholes still in place for many industries (with regard to carbon emissions accounting), and who knows if they will ever be done away with, so it’s hard to say what “net-zero” really means in his instance.