Last reviewed 20 April 2021
The Government is planning to introduce world-leading carbon emissions cuts of 78% by 2035, 15 years earlier than previously planned.
The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson is expected to make the announcement this week, well ahead of crucial climate talks in Glasgow later this year.
The proposed new carbon emission cuts are significantly steeper than previously agreed, following advice from its independent Climate Change Committee (CCC) to adopt the 78% reduction in UK emissions by 2035, as the target for the UK’s “sixth carbon budget”.
The proposal has been welcomed by businesses and environmental organisations, but some have advised caution, given that the UK is likely to fail to meet current targets for both the fourth and fifth carbon budgets.
Ed Matthew, campaigns director of climate think tank E3G, told the BBC: "Setting an ambitious emission reduction target would boost the UK's diplomatic drive to persuade other countries to set out ambitious targets of their own."
He added: "The UK now has the opportunity to spark a global green industrial revolution, but ultimately its credibility will rest on action."
Today, Ed Miliband, Labour’s shadow business secretary, accused the Government of setting targets without policies to deliver them, adding: “while any strengthening of our targets is the right thing to do, the Government can’t be trusted to match rhetoric with reality. Ministers have failed to bring forward an ambitious green recovery.”
The government’s attempts to tackle carbon reduction have been left wanting in some areas, including its flagships, Green Deal and Green Homes Grant, both of which promised to deliver significant energy savings and reductions in greenhouse gases, but have now been scrapped, with no replacements announced.
According to the CCC, meeting the sixth budget targets by 2035 means expanding low-carbon energy supplies through expansion of offshore wind and scaling up of low-carbon hydrogen.
Energy efficiency will need to be improved through a national programme to improve insulation. Diet change to reduce high-carbon meat and dairy consumption will also need to be encouraged and all new cars and vans will need to be low carbon by 2030.