Get net-zero done, bring it forward to 2030 and triple renewable generation are among recommendations made in a letter from climate groups to Prime Minister Boris Johnson today.
The letter, penned by The Climate Coalition - a collection of 150 organisations - and Bond, urges the UK to “get its own house in order” ahead of COP26.
“The coming months must see a green turbocharging of our decarbonisation policies and investment to maximise our emissions reductions, so that we reach net zero as soon as possible,” the letter reads.
It calls on the government to adopt a more ambitious target of net zero by 2030, twenty years ahead of the UK’s current target, to “get on track”.
The 2050 target was enshrined in law in 2019 following the Committee on Climate Change’s landmark report, however there were a range of dates being suggested by the UK’s political parties ahead of the December 2019 General Election, including 2030th. However, the debate over dates was criticised as being political over scientific, as well as for “distracting attention” from action.
Aside from calling for a shift in date, in an echo of the PM's election slogan ("Get Brexit Done"), the letter urges the PM "let’s get net zero done", outlining what it calls the Glasgow Action Plan. This details a series of recommendations that it says would put the UK on the pathway to net zero and deliver “essential” global climate outcomes at COP26.
Among these is the recommendation of tripling the level of wind and solar power generation by 2030, which should be delivered in harmony with nature.
Currently, the government has committed to ensuring the UK reach 40GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030.
It is also consulting on bringing the phase-out date of petrol and diesel vehicles to 2035 or earlier, if feasible. However, the letter stressed the ban should be brought forward to 2030 to reduce emissions and the cost of transport, with an expansion of public transport and active travel also required.
Other recommendations include encouraging other countries to close the gap between the existing Paris Agreement pledges and those needed to limit global temperature rises to 1.5°C, as well as support for impacted communities and the scaling up of nature based solutions.
An increase of public and private investment for climate action and restoring nature to an equivalent of at least 2% GDP per year should be introduced to underpin these solutions, it said.
The UK should also stop all new support for fossil fuels overseas, review and phase-out existing investments by 2021 and scale up support for renewable and efficient energy systems and help deliver universal access to energy.
The letter states that the priorities in the Glasgow Action Plan will collectively drive inward investment, boost productivity and inspire other countries across the world to act “faster and with more ambition”.
“We urge you to implement them. In the face of the climate emergency, now is the moment for the UK, under your charge, to become a global climate leader. There is no time for delay," it finishes.