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Climate change challenge: Mitigation should be about pledging real investment commitments, today

10 June 2019
Reading Time: 2 mins

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]UK accused of trying to ‘fiddle’ climate change targets

 

It is disappointing that the Chancellor has chosen to ignore a warning from the government’s climate advisory group to use past overperformance in emissions reductions to relax the agreed limits up to 2027. This balance sheet approach to our climate change targets allows a potential breach of pollution limits in the future. This announcement featured in last Monday’s Financial Times, comes hot on the heels of Malaysia’s decision to repatriate exported plastic waste, the trade of which continues to contribute to our healthy greenhouse gas emissions balance sheet.

The Chancellor’s approach to carbonomics gives licence for an increase in emissions during the current Carbon Budget period. The reason; to allow economic growth not to stall in future. But in meeting our carbon budget for 2023-27, we are already off-target. This offers little reassurance in meeting our pledge to adopt the Climate Change Commitee’s recommendation for a 2050 net zero carbon target the most ambitious long-term carbon targets in the world.

We cannot address the climate change challenge without investment in new technologies and solutions. Submission to demands for unimpeded economic growth, fuelled by more flexible emission targets, does not make our future any more prosperous. Reversing the damage in future years will only become more expensive and less competitive for the businesses the UK retains throughout an frustratingly lengthy and uncertain transition.
So far, 130 leading businesses are urging UK Government to legislate for 2050 net zero economy. The solutions businesses are presenting are bold and challenging and they must be. Delivering such solutions at the pace and scale required will consume resources and investment at an unprecedented level. All stakeholders in UKplc, urgently need certainty in return for their commitment and sacrifice to make the net zero target, by 2050, a positive reality. The Chancellor’s carbonomics only serves to delay the inevitable when mitigation is needed, now.

Getting this right requires an economy supporting climate-resilient activity. This must be underpinned by policy and procurement incentives needed to become a truly world leading economy in zero carbon. Limiting the risk, impact and scale of global warming outlined in last year’s IPCC report, whilst a challenge for securing society’s future welfare, is worth pursuing by us all.

 

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