The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) released a report that said the United Kingdom (UK) can be net zero by 2050. Net zero means that carbon emissions are balanced with carbon removal. If the UK adopts this target, it will be the most ambitious emissions reduction goal set by a large economy. The cost of the proposal is tens of billions of pounds, and it would be invested in renewable energy, electric vehicles, carbon capture and storage (CCS), and planting trees. The CCC has said that Scotland can be net zero by 2045. Scotland has more potential sites for CCS and a larger landmass for planting trees. But a lot of action is needed if the UK wants to achieve net zero, including phasing out gas vehicles by 2035, cutting consumption of beef, lamb, and dairy by 20%, and planting 30,000 hectares of trees each year. Chris Stark, the main author of the CCC report, said, “This report would have been absolutely inconceivable just a few years ago” due to the high target. The reason why it is possible now is because of the drop in the cost of renewable energy due to government policies supporting solar and wind power.
Last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said we have less than 12 years to reduce our emissions before the effects of climate change are irreversible. If global temperatures rise 1.5°C, we will reach the threshold for dangerous climate change. The CCC hopes that if the UK adopts the target and other countries follow, there would be a 50/50 chance of staying below 1.5°C by 2100.