British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will announce on Friday a new target that he says would reduce Britain’s greenhouse gas emissions “faster than any major economy.”
The target aims to reduce UK emissions by at least 68% from 1990 levels by 2030 and to put the country on the path to net zero by 2050. The target is more ambitious than what the European Union left earlier in is expected to set next week.
The United Kingdom is hosting the climate ambition summit with the UN and France on 12 December, which coincides with the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement, a global pact aimed at averting catastrophic climate change.
Under the terms of the Paris Agreement, which the United States formally withdrew from last month but President-elect Joe Biden has promised to rejoin, the countries agreed to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, preferably no more than 1.5 C 2.7 F) at the end of the century, compared to pre-industrial levels.
It was up to each participating country to decide at what rate emissions would be reduced. The only binding requirement was that each country had to update the UN on its plans and progress.
The goal of the summit is to get countries to present ambitious goals before Britain hosts the 26th Global UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) 2021, a year later than planned due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Today, we are taking the lead with an ambitious new goal of reducing our emissions by 2030, faster than any major economy,” says Johnson.
“But this is a global effort, which is why Britain is calling on world leaders as part of next week’s climate ambition summit to present their own ambitious plans to reduce emissions and set zero targets,” he added.
Britain’s move was hailed by Mohamed Adow, head of Power Shift Africa, a climate and energy-thinking base in Nairobi, Kenya.
“This is the kind of leadership we want to see from the hosts of next year’s crucial UN summit, and it will put pressure on other countries to follow suit,” he said.
“This welcome from Britain ahead of the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement must now trigger a race to the top for a safer and cleaner world,” Adow added.