environment news: CCC Carbon Budget Special
CCC - Climate Change Committee
The CCC sixth carbon budget has now recommended with their central scenario that the UK must reduce its territorial emissions to 78% of 1990 levels by 2035. This is a 68% reduction from 2019 levels. The budget should cover all greenhouse gas emissions, including those from international aviation and shipping, and removals of CO2 from the atmosphere.
The estimated net costs of achieving the UK's 2050 net-zero target will be less than 1% of GDP. With wider societal benefits such as lower health costs from better diets and air quality, the cost will be even lower. The costs of green technologies in fields such as energy and transport are continuing to fall, helping to make the net-zero target even cheaper.
The budget has recommended a fall in meat consumption by 10% by 2025, with meat and dairy consumption halving by 2050. It is expected that lab-grown meat will become a mainstream and marketable alternative in the intervening period. This target is broadly in line with current consumer trends regarding meat and dairy consumption.
Unabated fossil fuel power generation should end by 2035, according to the budget. This will require an 85% reduction in oil production, and a 70% reduction in gas production. Some oil and gas will still be used by 2050, but this will have to be offset through carbon capture storage technologies and other offset strategies such as tree planting. Read the full budget here.
Four hundred women have signed an open letter to the UK government calling for more women in "decision-making roles" at COP26 next year. The campaign, SHEChangesClimate, has the support of leading female figures in the fields of entertainment, politics and climate, such as Ellie Goulding, Mary Robinson and Laurence Tubiana. The letter demands stronger female representation in what is currently a male-dominated COP26 leadership team, with less than 25% women in influencing leadership positions. Read more about the campaign here.
The Centre for Cities has published a briefing, exploring how COVID-19 has affected air quality in cities. The briefing finds that whilst air pollution in cities fell over the course of the first national lockdown, it now exceeds pre-pandemic levels in 80 per cent of places studied. Consequently, it recommends accelerating the implementation of charging Clean Air Zones, and urges cities that have cancelled them as a result of the pandemic to reverse their decisions. Read the full briefing here.
Transport Minister Rachel Maclean has announced that green number plates have appeared on roads for the first time this week as the country transitions to electric vehicles. The move aims to tackle poor air quality in the UK’s towns and cities. The introduction of the new plates on UK roads is expected to raise awareness of the growing number of zero-emission vehicles, as well as helping motorists benefit from local initiatives such as cheaper parking and cost-free entry into zero-emission zones. Read more about the scheme here.
ADEPT (a coalition formed of local government organisations and environmental NGOs) is warning that the UK will fail to meet its 2050 net-zero target without the full participation of, and support for, local authorities. It argues that councils are vital in delivering local solutions such as electric vehicle charging points and heat pumps in social housing. Amongst its five priorities for action, it urges focussed support for reskilling and retraining for green jobs, so that local authorities can target training where it is needed most. Read more here.
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