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News 21 April 2021

UK Government legally commits to ambitious emissions reduction target

The UK Government will today in parliament lay out the legislation setting out its legal commitment to the world’s most ambitious climate change target, cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels.

The new target aligns with the recommendation made in December 2020 by the government’s independent advisers the Climate Change Committee (CCC) in its Sixth Carbon Budget. Adhering to the carbon budget will ensure the UK remains on track to end its contribution to climate change.

The UK had previously committed to reduce emissions by at least 68% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels, recognised as the highest reduction target made by a major economy to date. The new target builds on this goal and will become enshrined in law by the end of June 2021.

Mike Thornton, Chief Executive, commented on this announcement:

“We welcome the government’s ambition to cut carbon emissions by 78% by 2035, in alignment with the December 2020 Climate Change Committee recommendations. It provides a promising sign that the UK is taking real global leadership in tackling climate change.

“While this milestone is a major step on the UK’s net zero pathway, the target must be underpinned by detailed commitments and clear policies about how we get there – particularly on key areas such as homes, which are currently responsible for more than one fifth of the UK’s carbon emissions.

“The government’s proposals for how we decarbonise heating in homes will offer an important opportunity to provide certainty and confidence to homeowners, investors and local authorities, around how we can transition to low carbon homes more quickly, and what government support will look like.

“We look forward to continuing our work with government to provide householders and businesses with impartial support and advice on saving energy and carbon.”

The UK Government aims to meet this new target by investing and capitalising on new green technologies and innovation.

Two key pieces of legislation due this Spring – the Heating and Building Strategy and Transport Decarbonisation Plan – will set out how the government will support the public in transitioning to low carbon technologies, including heat pumps and electric vehicles.

These blueprints will be supported by the cross-government Net Zero Strategy, which will be published later in the year.

Read the full announcement here.

Last updated: 20 April 2021