Net Zero - The UK's contribution to stopping global warming
On 2 May, the Committee on Climate Change published their report on phasing out greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The report responds to a request from the Governments of the UK, Wales and Scotland, to reassess the UK's long-term emissions targets.
The Comittee on Climate Change has said "the UK can end its contribution to global warming within 30 years by setting an ambitious new target to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050.”
The reports key findings:
- The Committee on Climate Change recommends a new emissions target for the UK: net-zero greenhouse gases by 2050.
- In Scotland, a recommendation of a net-zero date of 2045, reflecting Scotland’s greater relative capacity to remove emissions than the UK as a whole.
- In Wales, a recommendation of a 95% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050.
The Committee on Climate Change's key messages for a net-zero Scotland in 2045:
- Scotland currently has a target to reduce emissions of all greenhouse gases including international aviation and shipping by at least 80% by 2050, relative to 1990. The target was set in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act (2009) and is under review in a new Climate Change Bill currently being considered by the Scottish Parliament.
- The Scottish Government should legislate to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045. The target can be legislated as a 100% reduction in GHGs from 1990 and should cover all sectors of the economy, including international aviation and shipping.
- The Scottish Climate Change Bill also requires interim targets. We recommend these are set for a 70% reduction by 2030 and a 90% reduction by 2040 against the 1990 baseline.
- Scotland should not adjust its 2020 target.
- These targets represent Scotland's fair contribution to the recommended UK target and hence to the Paris Agreement. They do not imply higher policy ambition or effort, but reflect the excellent opportunities to remove CO₂ from the atmosphere through afforestation and carbon capture and storage in Scotland.
- Scotland cannot deliver net-zero emissions by 2045 through devolved policy alone. It will require both UK-wide and Scottish policies to ramp up significantly. If the UK does not commit to a net-zero GHG target for 2050 then Scotland may need to revise its target.
- The new Scottish Just Transition Commission has an important role to help plan and deliver a just transition across Scotland that protects vulnerable workers, consumers and rural and island populations