In May 2019, the Climate Change Committee (CCC), a non-departmental public body that advises the government on climate, recommended that the UK try to be zero on all greenhouse gases by 2050. The UK would thus remain in line with commitments under the 2016 Paris Agreement to keep global warming below 2 degrees. However, the UK`s current National Declared Contribution (NDC), a central pillar of its commitment to the Paris Agreement, does not commit the UK to a net zero – this is likely to change before the next COP climate talks. The CCC concluded that “net zero is necessary, feasible and inexpensive.” [3] The Climate Change Act 2008 requires the government to set co2 budgets after advice from the CCC. These run until 2032. Budgets are set in advance and a cap on total natural gas emissions for a period of five years is set to ensure that the UK meets its emissions reduction commitments. The UK is on track to meet its third carbon budget (the current budget for 2018-22), but it is not on track to reach its fourth (2023-27) and fifth (2028-32). The United Kingdom officially presented on Thursday evening (3 December) the target of a 68% reduction in emissions by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. The objective will serve as a national contribution (NDC) to the Paris Agreement, which will define the necessary internal measures that each country must take to contribute to the implementation of the comprehensive agreement.

This is a strong commitment that shows that the UK is the leader ahead of next year`s COP. It lays the groundwork for the constructive engagement needed to achieve an ambitious set of global targets to reach 1.5oC by 2050. National Grid is at the heart of the energy transition and proud to contribute to the communities we serve in Britain and the United States. Comment: Rich countries, think about your $100 billion climate commitment for the world`s poor The first thing to take into account is that the Paris Agreement was signed by nearly 200 countries and ratified by 111 (including China, India and the United States). Compared to previous attempts to set global emissions targets such as the Kyoto Protocol, a consensus on threats to climate change could almost be seen as a victory in itself. The publication of key sector strategies in 2020 will be crucial in assessing the UK government`s commitment to zero net emissions by 2050. These include the transport decarbonisation plan, as transport emissions remain the main source of emissions in the UK economy and are currently only slightly below 1990 levels. The Energy White Paper, originally due to be published in mid-2019, will pave the way for the decarbonisation of the energy system, while the heat and buildings strategy and the Future Homes Standard, which are currently under development, will play a crucial role in ensuring rapid decarbonisation of the building sector, a central issue for the next decade and beyond. While the amended Climate Change Act imposes a legal obligation on the government, it is unclear how it will be implemented. The proposed Environmental Protection Office would have enforcement powers – and the courts have also shown a readiness to intervene where they feel the government has not properly heeded their climate change commitments. This is what happened, for example, in February 2020, when the United Kingdom Court of Appeal ruled that the government`s policy statement in favour of the expansion of Heathrow was illegal.

[7] The relative strength of these objectives depends not only on the date and nature of the commitment – whether defined in legislation or described as government policy – but above all on the coverage of the objective.