UK's climate change contribution pressure-tested for the Paris Agreement and beyond

UK's climate change contribution pressure-tested for the Paris Agreement and beyond

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The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has issued a set of reports, including reports on UK climate action following the Paris Agreement and implications of Brexit on UK climate policy. We examine the findings and recommendations.

A set of reports from the CCC emphasise that the Paris Agreement marks a significant positive step in global action to tackle climate change, and looks at how targets should be met. The implications of leaving the EU for the UK’s emissions reduction efforts are also considered, along with how the government aims to fulfil its intention to initially convert existing EU laws into UK legislation when the UK leaves the EU.

What are the practical implications of the CCC reports?

The message conveyed by the CCC reports is that the UK is already over-stretched and behind schedule in respect of its emissions targets. The CCC emphasises the importance of the UK achieving net zero emissions before 2100 and believes the UK can reach this target at the same time as the rest of the world, but that the current focus should be on meeting domestic targets, which would still provide a significant contribution to global efforts on tackling climate change, before looking towards compliance with the Paris Agreement.

What is the UK's current emissions target?

The UK emissions target, set in 2008 by the Climate Change Act 2008, is to reduce emissions by at least 80% by 2050, relative to 1990 levels, consistent with keeping the global average temperature rise to as little as possible above 2°C. The CCC takes the view that the UK's carbon budgets are at least as challenging as the EU's commitments.

Brexit strategy

The overarching theme of the CCC report on the Implications of Brexit for UK climate policy is that the UK should

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