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UK set to go further on climate targets

UK government to make pledge to slash the its carbon emissions by 78% by 2035

The UK is set to commit to deeper cuts in its carbon emissions as it prepares to host the UN’s COP26 summit later in 2021, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.

Over the next few days Boris Johnson will make a pledge to slash the UK’s carbon emissions by 78% by the year 2035, to a level last seen in 1990.

The new goal will be revealed ahead of a major US climate summit taking place on Thursday, where Joe Biden will put forward his own target for reducing America’s carbon emissions.

The UK’s latest target raises the bar from its previous goal of a 68% emissions reduction by 2030, already one of the most ambitious among the world’s major economies.

Achieving the ambitious target will come down to a number of factors. Firstly, the UK will need to implement an electricity system that operates without generating carbon emissions. Second, there will need to bee a reduction in meat and dairy consumption. Third, low-carbon heating systems will need to be introduced in homes, and finally, more woodland will need to be planted.

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The Financial Times also reported that emissions from international aviation and shipping were likely to be featured in the targets.

The global movement received a boost when the US rejoined the Paris Climate accord in what John Kerry our last, “best hope” to get the world on track to limit global warming to 1.5C, as the Presidential Envoy for Climate underscored the security challenges posed by climate change.

The EU and China have pledged to reduce their emissions by 55% and 65% respectively by 2030, while India and Japan have announced goals of 33-35% and 26% by the same date.

The pandemic has so far been a barrier to efforts to organise a physical meeting of COP26, although organisers remain determined that it will go ahead.

“We are working very hard to ensure that we have an in-person physical COP, taking into account of course any Covid-related contingencies,” summit president Alok Sharma told parliament last week.

“I don’t sense any desire among parties for a further postponement,” he added.

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