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UK PM sets ‘ambitious’ new emissions cut target for 2030

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London:  Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday announced an “ambitious” new target to reduce the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 68 per cent by 2030 compared to the levels in 1990.

This is the first target set by the UK following its exit from the European Union (EU) and Johnson said it demonstrated Britain’s leadership in tackling climate change, having already cut carbon emissions more than any similar developed country and being the first major economy to legislate for net zero emissions by 2050.

The UK claims its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Climate Agreement is now among the highest in the world and commits the country to cutting emissions at the fastest rate of any major economy so far.

“We have proven we can reduce our emissions and create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the process – uniting businesses, academics, NGOs and local communities in a common goal to go further and faster to tackle climate change,” said Johnson.

“Today, we are taking the lead with an ambitious new target to reduce our emissions by 2030, faster than any major economy, with our Ten Point Plan helping us on our path to reach it. But this is a global effort, which is why the UK is urging world leaders as part of next week’s Climate Ambition Summit to bring forward their own ambitious plans to cut emissions and set net zero targets,” he said.

As the co-host of the virtual summit on December 12, Johnson had invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a phone call last week to participate in the event, which will coincide with the fifth anniversary of the historic Paris Agreement.

The summit calls on countries around the world to submit ambitious NDCs or other climate plans on the road to the UN COP26 climate talks, which the UK government is hosting in Glasgow next year.

“Tackling climate change is the one of the most urgent shared endeavours of our lifetimes, demanding bold action from every nation to prevent catastrophic global warming,” said Alok Sharma, UK Business Secretary and President of COP26.

“The UK’s new emissions target is among the highest in the world and reflects the urgency and scale of the challenge our planet faces. I hope other countries join us and raise the bar at next week’s UN Climate Ambition Summit, and ahead of the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow next year,” he said.

Each party to the Paris Agreement – including countries and international blocs such as the EU – determines what domestic action it will take and communicates it in the form of NDCs.

They are at the heart of the Paris Agreement goal, set at COP21 UN summit in 2015, to hold the global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees and pursue best efforts to limit the increase to 1.5°C.

Many countries have now made net zero commitments and this round of NDCs, which set a 2030 emission reduction target, will need to be consistent with those longer term commitments.

Downing Street said the latest announcement achieves that and reflects the independent Climate Change Committee’s advice on net zero.

The UK government says its path to meeting this latest target is backed by the PM’s “Ten Point Plan” set out earlier for a so-called green revolution, which is aimed at creating and supporting up to 250,000 British jobs by 2030.

The plan sets out ambitious policies and investment, with a stated potential to deliver over GBP 40 billion of private investment by 2030.

The UK’s previous NDC target was 53 per cent and it says it will now communicate its full NDC to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in time for the Climate Ambition Summit next week.

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