The draft orders to amend the 2050 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target in the Climate Change Act from at least 80% to at least 100%. This target, otherwise known as 'net zero', would constitute a legally binding commitment to end the UK’s contribution to climate change.
The UK decided to proceed with the law after a sobering report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change regarding the impact of global warming at 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels. The report made it clear that a target set to limit global warming at 2º above pre-industrial levels was no longer enough. It stated that by limiting warming to 1.5º the world may be able to address some of the effects on health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security and economic growth.
The House has heard already of the great progress we have made in tackling climate change together across parties; of how we have cut emissions by 42% since 1990 while growing the economy by 72%
Mr. Skidmore said. He added that the UK can achieve zero emission with existing technologies, enabling the country to continue to grow its economy, and the quality of life affordable. This is because it can be achieved at a cost equal to 1-2% of GDP in 2050. In addition, because of falling costs, this is the same cost envelope which this Parliament accepted for an 80% target back.
What is more, 11 years ago, UK passed the Climate Change Act, which is the first legislation in the world to set legally binding, long-term targets for reducing emissions. That Act passed with strong cross-party support from all sides of the House and created a vital precedent on climate.
Today we can make history again as the first major economy in the world to commit to ending our contribution to global warming forever. I would ask all sides of the House to come together today in the same spirit and support this draft legislation which I commend to the House
Minister Skidmore concluded.