What’s Going On Here?
The UK government has pledged to reach Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050. A new report prepared for the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) helps us understand what we as a country and as individuals can do to meet the target.
What Does This Mean?
Net Zero will mean that greenhouse gas emissions being produced and removed from the atmosphere will balance out to zero. Climate experts are unsurprisingly advising that big lifestyle changes supported by a change in government policy will be needed to reach ‘Net Zero.’ Here’s a brief summary of the main areas:
- Individuals – shift to a plant-based diet, reduce food waste and eat local and sustainably transported produce
- Government – introduce environmental impact labels on food, fund research into sustainable foods and alter subsidies for farmers to support sustainable practices
- Individuals – increase use of public transport, walking and cycling. Switch to electric vehicles (EVs).
- Government – more cycling infrastructure, subsidised public transport, grants for EVs, smart EV home charging systems and better-charging infrastructure.
- Individuals – Fly less, especially if you are in the 15% of the UK population that takes 70% of flights.
- Government – introduce an Air Miles Levy which targets the most frequent flyers and provide more information about emissions from flights.
- Individuals – consider low-carbon heating systems such as air-source heat pumps/hybrid heat pumps and ensure good house insulation.
- Governments – make low-carbon heating systems and insulation retrofits more affordable, introduce mandate standards for smart appliances, inform the public to reduce uncertainty of new heating systems.
Why Should We Care?
In order to try and limit global warming to 1.5°C, radical changes will be needed individually and on a much larger scale – but these don’t have to impact negatively on our well-being! It’s easy to feel helpless when tackling the climate crisis but studies like this help break solutions down into realistic changes that can be made.
It’s important not to feel the weight of the task on your own shoulders as government policy changes are essential, and quite frankly we are not meeting our current targets! (see for the CCC’s July 2019 report).
It should also be mentioned that some scientists and campaigners do not believe that the 2050 target is soon enough.
- Watch this week’s BBC panorama program looking at the changes that need to be made and browse the original report to find out more.
- Have a look at your own life to see if you can make any of these changes – some of them aren’t too difficult! Spread the word to family and friends.
- Keep putting pressure on governments to make these changes ASAP whether it’s by who you vote for, petitioning, marching or non-violent direct action.