The UKCommittee on Climate Change ‘CCC’, established by the Climate Change Act 2008,has been recommending 5 yearly carbon budgets and seeing them enacted as law bythe constituent Parliaments of the UK for 10 years.
In May 2019 theCCC, reflecting on the latest science from the Intergovernmental Panel onClimate Change, and perhaps sensing a shift in the tectonic plates of publicopinion on climate change, produced a new report for the Parliaments of the UK,Wales and Scotland – ‘Net Zero – the UK’scontribution to stopping global warming.’
The CCC has nowproposed that the UK can end its contribution to global warming within 30years, by setting an ambitious new target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions tozero by 2050. It proposes that Scotland could reach net zero emissions by 2045,with Wales achieving 95% reductions by 2050.
Introducing the newrecommendations, the CCC said –
“The CCC’s recommended targets, which cover allsectors of the UK, Scottish and Welsh economies, are achievable with knowntechnologies, alongside improvements in peoples’ lives, and should be put intolaw as soon as possible.”
This target,and the political will to meet it, will create major and immediate challenges, whilstalso opening up major new opportunities, across many sectors including –
- The automotive sector
- Manufacturing industry
- Carbon Capture and Storage technology
- Low carbon hydrogen
- The waste industry
- Low carbon power
- Banking, finance and insurance
In fact, of course, as the CCC has said, this will affect all sectors of the economy. In an article for the Guardian in April 2019, Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, Francois Villeroy de Galhau, Governor of the Banque de France, and Frank Elderson, Chair of the Network for Greening the Financial System, wrote that –
“The catastrophic effects of climate change arealready visible around the world. From blistering heatwaves in North Africa totyphoons in south-east Asia and droughts in Africa and Australia, no country orcommunity is immune…
Carbon emissions have to decline by 45% from 2010levels over the next decade in order the reach net zero by 2050. That requiresa massive reallocation of capital. If some companies and industries fail toadjust to this new world, they will fail to exist.”
Major changesin environmental and other laws and regulations will be needed at the UK leveland in each of the devolved Parliaments, and we expect to be involved inadvising some of the many businesses and industries affected by the changes.
About the Author
William Wilson is a specialist environmental, regulatory andnuclear lawyer with over 25 years experience in government, private practiceand consultancy. He worked as a senior lawyer at the UK Department of theEnvironment/DETR/Defra, and helped to build up the environmental and nuclearpractices at another major law firm. William has experience of all aspects ofenvironmental law, including water, waste, air quality and industrialemissions, REACH and chemicals regulation, environmental protection,environmental permitting, litigation, legislative drafting, managing primarylegislation, negotiating EU Directives and drafting secondary legislation.
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