UK on track to become first G7 country to legislate for net zero emissions

12 June 2019
The Prime Minister has announced that the UK will eradicate its net contribution to climate change by 2050, following the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC) net-zero carbon target advice. 
Image: serts

Image: serts

The steps to legislate the changes are being set out in Parliament today that will amend the Climate Change Act 2008.

Ramboll was one of 130 leading UK businesses signing an open letter urging the Government to accept the recommendations of the CCC and lead the way by becoming the first major economy to legislate for an ambitious, domestic decarbonisation target that delivers net-zero by 2050 at the latest.

Commenting on the announcement, UK Managing Director for Ramboll said:“The Prime Minister’s commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions in the UK by 2050 is a vital step towards developing a more sustainable economy. As part of the Aldersgate Group campaign, which has been lobbying for this commitment following the CCC report earlier this year, I strongly believe that the construction and engineering industries must play a key role in achieving this goal. There is a clear need to change not only the methods used in construction, but also how buildings are designed and managed.

We recently conducted research that showed built assets in the UK currently operate with up to 50% more energy capacity than they will ever need. As one of the leading current contributors to carbon emissions, we must take this opportunity to rethink building design standards and explore how innovation can be used to drive efficiency and sustainability, and help the UK meet this net zero goal.”

The Government commissioned report by the CCC: Net Zero. The UK's contribution to stopping global warming concluded that net-zero is necessary, feasible and cost-effective. The report forecasted significant benefits to public health and savings to the NHS from better air quality and less noise pollution, as well as improved biodiversity.

Philippa Spence, Environment & Health UK Managing Principal for Ramboll said, "We applaud the government’s decision to introduce a 2050 net-zero target. Ramboll is already helping clients develop decarbonisation strategies for their buildings, portfolios, processes and products. Ambitions around net-zero provide opportunities to embrace efficiencies and circular economy principles to adapt and strengthen businesses". 

This legislation will mean that the UK is on track to become the first G7 country to legislate for net-zero emissions, with other major economies expected to follow suit. 
Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“As the first country to legislate for long-term climate targets, we can be truly proud of our record in tackling climate change. We have made huge progress in growing our economy and the jobs market while slashing emissions.
“Now is the time to go further and faster to safeguard the environment for our children. This country led the world in innovation during the Industrial Revolution, and now we must lead the world to a cleaner, greener form of growth.
“Standing by is not an option. Reaching net-zero by 2050 is an ambitious target, but it is crucial that we achieve it to ensure we protect our planet for future generations.
“Whilst it will be for future governments to determine the precise direction of future climate policy, the Committee on Climate Change acknowledge that we have laid strong foundations through our Clean Growth Strategy and taken action to tackle climate change across key sectors of the economy identified by the report.”

Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Greg Clark said:
“We want to continue our global leadership and that’s why we are introducing a legally binding net-zero target to end the UK’s contribution to global warming entirely by 2050. The report we commissioned from the Committee on Climate Change makes clear that we have laid the foundations to achieve a net-zero emissions economy, and that it is necessary and feasible.
“Almost 400,000 people are already employed in the low-carbon sector and its supply chains across the country. Through our modern Industrial Strategy we’re investing in clean growth to ensure we reap the rewards and create two million high quality jobs by 2030”.

A more sustainable future is an ambition shared by many, in Ramboll's Sustainable Buildings Market Study that launched last week, 95% of respondents considered sustainability important for successful business operations.

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