The Government’s advisory Committee on Climate Change has called for the UK to cut its emissions by 78% by 2035 on the way to ending climate pollution by 2050.
Here are some of the recommended moves to meet the 2035 target and the 2050 “net zero” goal – when almost all emissions will be cut to zero and any remaining pollution offset by measures to absorb carbon such as planting trees.
– All gas boilers being installed from 2025 must be “hydrogen ready” and sales of natural gas boilers will be phased out by 2033, except for homes in areas where the gas grid is set to convert to low-carbon hydrogen.
The majority of homes will switch to heat pumps that run on electricity.
– Sales of new petrol and diesel cars, motorbikes and vans, including plug-in hybrids, must be phased out by 2032, with most new sales ended by 2030.
The committee says this is broadly in line with the Government’s commitment to ban conventional cars and vans by 2030 and hybrids by 2035, but hybrids will have to be a “niche” market.
– Nearly 100% of sales of new HGVs should be zero emissions by 2040.
– People should be encouraged to reduce their meat and dairy consumption by 20% by 2030, with meat eating reduced by 35% by 2050, which will free up land for restoring peatland so it absorbs carbon and to plant trees.
– Cuts to demand for other carbon intensive activities will also be needed, including slower growth in flights, reductions in car travel, and cutting waste and boosting recycling.
On 12 December 2015, nations clinched the historic #ParisAgreement to tackle climate change. Five years later, on 12 December 2020, leaders across government, business and civil society with gather for the Climate Ambition Summit 2020: https://t.co/BG3W8vW2mrpic.twitter.com/psxvY5JauG
— UN Climate Change (@UNFCCC) December 7, 2020
There also needs to be more action on energy efficiency, in particular insulating buildings.
– Electricity will be zero carbon by 2035, with a phase out of gas power that does not have technology to capture and store its carbon emissions, and renewables – in particular offshore wind – generating 70% of power.
Energy bills could rise by £100 a year by 2030 to fund clean power, before starting to fall, but that is largely offset by improvements in more efficient appliances, boilers and lights.
– By 2035, 460,000 hectares of new mixed woodland will be planted to remove carbon dioxide, increasing woodland cover from 13% today to 15%, 260,000 hectares of farmland shifts to producing energy crops, and peatland – including agricultural land – needs to be restored.