On 20 April, the government announced that it has taken on the independent recommendations from the Climate Change Committee and has set a world-leading carbon emissions reduction target of 78% by 2035.
The UK already has the most significant Nationally Determined Contribution of any major economy, set at 68% reduction by 2030 compared to 1990 levels, and was the first country to legislate a net-zero target back in 2019. This new target for 2035 reinforces the UK as a global leader against climate change. With COP26 due to be hosted in Glasgow this November, setting this target positions the UK very strongly ahead of the international climate negotiations.
Not only does the target uphold the UK’s position on the global stage, but it is also the first time that UK emissions reduction targets have included the UK’s contribution to international aviation and shipping emissions. Achieving net-zero will require all sectors of the economy to decarbonise, and with aviation and shipping being particularly challenging to decarbonise, the UK is setting a strong precedent for unlocking the pathways to decarbonisation in these sectors over the coming decade.
The CBI welcomes this target, and it is now crucial that government delivers the required support, policy and regulatory frameworks that enable businesses to decarbonise across sectors. This year promises to be critical for net-zero policy, including the publication of the widely anticipated HMT Net Zero Review and the Net Zero Strategy, government must seize these opportunities to provide the clarity that businesses require, and CBI will support every business navigate the changing policy landscape.
“Setting the Sixth Carbon Budget in line with the Climate Change Committee recommendations puts the UK on a credible path to achieve its net-zero emissions target.— Rain Newton-Smith, Chief Economist, CBI
As COP26 hosts, the UK government is leading by example by setting this stretching target. Business stands ready to deliver with the latest low-carbon technologies and innovations that are driving emissions down every year. By tackling this together, we can reap the benefits of transition to a low-carbon economy.
The target emphasises the importance of the 2020s as a decade of delivery on our climate ambitions, and urgent action is needed now to make this a reality.