Reducing UK greenhouse gas emissions and the Clean Growth Strategy
Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time.
Every country, and every citizen, has a role to play in tackling it.
The UK has taken a world-leading approach – the Climate Change Act.
It requires the UK to steadily reduce its harmful greenhouse gas emissions and hit legally-binding carbon targets.
By 2050, total UK emissions must fall by at least 80% compared to 1990 levels.
We’ve made real progress so far.
Emissions are down by more than 40% since 1990, while our economy has grown by over 65%.
This is the best performance of any G7 country.
But plenty of challenges remain.
Emissions in transport are rising. Sales of all new petrol and diesel cars and vans must be phased out by 2040.
UK buildings account for around 20% of emissions. We must improve energy efficiency and shift to low-carbon sources of heating.
We must continue to invest in low-carbon sources of electricity and develop plans for carbon capture and storage technology.
And we must find new ways to drive down emissions from agriculture and land-use.
In 2017, the UK government published its Clean Growth Strategy, setting out the next phase of action.
If delivered in full and on time, the strategy will support deeper emissions cuts and the shift towards a low-carbon economy.
It could mean up to 2 million UK jobs in this sector over the next decade – as well as cleaner air, warmer homes and quieter streets.
But the strategy doesn’t go far enough.
Further work is needed to meet the UK’s climate change targets, and to prepare the ground for enhanced climate action in line with the Paris Agreement.
Current proposals will need to be fleshed out, and wider action will be needed from the government, households, business and industry.
Together, we can all help to secure the UK’s position as a global climate change leader and seize the opportunities of the low-carbon transition.