Updated Apr 29, 2021

UK Government commits to cutting carbon emissions by 78% by 2035

On 20 April the UK Government announced it wanted to cut carbon emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels, in line with the recommendations made by the Committee on Climate Change.

The reductions in greenhouse gas emissions will be incorporated in the sixth Carbon Budget covering a period between 2033 to 2037, on track with the Paris Agreement temperature goal and bringing the UK closer to achieving net-zero by 2050 target.

It is also for the first time that the Government will account for emissions from international shipping and aviation in the calculation of overall emissions, which previously caused controversy and sparked anger among climate activists, who claimed that those two sectors have too much of an impact on climate change not to be accounted for.

The new climate change timetable will require major changes in UK's infrastructure, housing, services, and production to be able to achieve the target. The Government published a Draft Carbon Budget Order 2021 on 23 March 2021 and the new carbon emissions target is aimed to be made law by the end of June 2021.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "We want to continue to raise the bar on tackling the 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."

The opposition and climate activists mostly welcomed the move, Greenpeace said that "Targets are much easier to set than they are to meet, so the hard work begins now".