UK Climate Change Adviser to Recommend Target of Zero Emissions by 2050: Sources

By | April 30, 2019

The U.K. government’s official adviser on climate change is set to recommend the country adopt a target to drive net fossil fuel emissions to zero by 2050, according to people familiar with the plan.

If adopted, the proposals would give the U.K. the tightest emissions rules of any of the leading economies. Pollution is rising up the political agenda across Europe after insurers had a record $160 billion in climate-related losses last year including wildfires in Sweden and more violent storms in the south of the continent.

The Climate Change Committee will suggest that Scotland can reach that goal by 2045, according to the people who asked not to be named ahead of a report from the committee due on May 2. Wales would get until the middle of the century to cut greenhouse gases by 95 percent, the people said. An official from the committee declined to comment.

The report also shows how quickly the cost of low-polluting technologies is coming down, concluding that the recommendations can be implemented for the same cost as the previous target set in 2008. That was to reduce emissions by 80 percent. It would also mean British consumers planting more trees, replacing domestic boilers that use natural gas and eating less red meat, one of the people said.

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Protesters from Extinction Rebellion closed bridges and major thoroughfares across London in the past few weeks, prompting officials from the main political parties to pledge tougher action.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s Cabinet would consider the recommendations. Ministers from governments across the political spectrum have traditionally endorsed suggestions from the committee, whose members are drawn from the main parties.

Britain has pushed its utilities to slash emissions, forcing the closure of aging power plants and encourage renewables including solar and wind farms. Britain is one of the world leaders in erecting wind turbines offshore, where breezes are stronger and more constant. The result is that many days the grid runs primarily on natural gas and clean energy, coal marginalized or even completely shut down.

–With assistance from Jeremy Hodges.


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