PM Announces that the UK will commit to net -zero emissions by 2050, what now?

2019 has already seen a wave of climate action activity, from the climate strikes to multiple cities and institutions declaring a climate emergency, most recently the Prime Minister officially announced that the UK is committing to ending its contribution to climate change by 2050 by reaching net zero emissions by the middle of the century.

Our decarbonisation commitment

In June we announced that our science-based target, consistent with reductions required to keep warming to 1.5°C (the most ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement) was approved by the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi). This target demonstrates our commitment to ‘walking the talk’ on sustainability and makes us one of only six companies to have aligned with 1.5 degrees, and the first from a zero-carbon baseline (on our direct operations).

Two weeks ago, we were proud to be among 250 organisations including BT, Legal and General and Sainsbury’s to sign a letter urging the prime minister to push this legislation through parliament. What this shows is that there is significant support in the business community for the UK to show real leadership on climate action and that organisations are ready to step up.

We published a blog in response to the publication of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) ‘Net Zero – The UK’s contribution to stopping global warming’ report, in which we outline the recommendations of the report and how this target will be achieved, via a series of system changes covering each, and every sector of the UK economy. The report recommended setting a net zero target to cover all GHGs and all sectors, including most controversially, international aviation and shipping. See the blog here.

What businesses can do

Businesses must continue to be at the forefront of the fight against climate change. With British Politics having been dominated by Brexit over the last few years, this commitment by the government is a timely reminder that although our collective attention may be diverted, the climate crisis continues. What is required is clear and decisive leadership in order to initiate systemic change, with resources allocated help businesses deliver this change successfully, through prioritising energy efficiency, technological innovation and wide-reaching engagement programmes.

This is why we set a science-based target and continue to work with our clients to enable a zero-carbon economy. Has your organisation engaged on science-based targets yet?

The UK’s commitment

The PM’s announcement places the UK as the first G7 country to legislate for net zero emissions and comes after parliament passed legislation last week to enshrine this commitment into law. See here for the press release issued by the British Embassy in Beijing.

If you have ever wondered how ambitious this really is, and whether other countries are also addressing the climate crisis, Climate Home News publishes a review of progress made by countries on net zero and contains some real surprises (did you know Bhutan is currently developing a target?). If all countries followed the UK, there is a 50/50 chance of staying below the recommended 1.5 degrees temperature rise by 2100.

Make sure that your organisation leads the charge towards net zero and begin exploring the opportunities today.

What does net zero mean?

‘Net zero’ means that the total of active removals from the atmosphere offsets any remaining emissions from the rest of the economy. The removals are expected to be important given the difficulty in entirely eliminating emissions from some sectors.

Contact us

If you would like a member of our team to work with your business on its net zero strategy, please get in touch