UK zero emissions target to be legally binding

The government has said it will make it legally binding for the UK to establish a zero emissions target. Under current regulations, emissions must be reduced by 80% by 2050. […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

The government has said it will make it legally binding for the UK to establish a zero emissions target.

Under current regulations, emissions must be reduced by 80% by 2050.

Speaking at the House of Commons yesterday, Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom said: “The government believes that we will need to take the step of enshrining the Paris goal for net zero emissions in UK law.

“The question is not whether but how we do it and there are an important set of questions to be answered before we do.”

She added: “This is an example once again of the House demonstration on a cross-party basis a determination to tackle climate change.”

Last December world leaders agreed to keep global temperatures “well below” 2C at the COP21 conference in Paris.

Although Ms Leadsom didn’t give any details of the change, the news has been welcomed by environmental groups.

WWF said the announcement “is a recognition that the UK can be at the forefront of a brave new low carbon world”.

Head of Climate and Energy Emma Pinchbeck added: “We look forward to this promise being followed up with ambitious action – there is a great opportunity for further climate change leadership on the horizon as the government must put in place the fifth carbon budget, including our targets for 2030 by June of this year. We will be campaigning to ensure this is consistent with this week’s forward-looking commitment to a zero carbon future.”

Ms Leadsom also reiterated “there is absolutely no change” to the government’s commitment to end new subsidies for onshore wind.

“Our actions have shown that we will be tough on subsidies in order to keep bills down for families and businesses,” she said.