Climate change—emissions targets and carbon budgets
Climate change—emissions targets and carbon budgets

The following Environment guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Climate change—emissions targets and carbon budgets
  • Brexit impact
  • Climate Change Act—2050 target
  • Carbon budgets
  • How is the UK doing?

Brexit impact

As of exit day (31 January 2020), the UK is no longer an EU Member State. However, in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK has entered an implementation period, during which it continues to be subject to EU law. This has an impact on this content.

For further guidance, see Practice Note: Brexit—impact on environmental law and News Analysis: Brexit Bulletin—key updates, research tips and resources.

Climate Change Act—2050 target

The Climate Change Act 2008 (CCA 2008) established a legally binding target for the UK to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 80% from 1990 levels by 2050.

The target was originally 60% but was amended following scientific evidence from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Second Assessment Report and advice from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC).

In December 2011, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (as it then was) published the Carbon Plan, which set out the government's plans for decarbonisation across all sectors. This updates and supersedes the 2009 Low Carbon Transition Plan.

The Climate Change Act 2008 (2050 Target Amendment) Order 2019, SI 2019/1056 came into force on 27 June 2019 and amended the legally binding target set in CCA 2008, s 1 to 100% or net-zero. This means the UK has a legally binding target to reduce its GHG emissions by