The UK has submitted its new national climate plan to the UN’s climate body, confirming its vow to cut greenhouse gas pollution by at least 68% by 2030 from 1990 levels.
It’s the first time the UK has put forward its own proposal under the global Paris Agreement, as it was previously grouped under the European Union’s bloc.
The Climate Ambition Summit, set to get underway later this afternoon, will mark five years since the adoption of the Paris Climate agreement and will platform leaders who are ready to make new commitments to deliver on the goals set out in 2015.
Boris Johnson urges UK to become ‘Saudi Arabia of wind power’
Boris Johnson used his slot at the summit to stress Britain’s 10 point climate plan for a “green industrial revolution”.
In particular, he urged the UK to become “the Saudi Arabia of wind energy”, and outlined the government’s goal to ban new internal combustion engines by 2030.
Boris Johnson urges UK to become the ‘Saudi Arabia of wind power’
The Prime Minister also hailed a new era of “scientific optimism” and said: “We are coming to the end of an extraordinary year with I think a sudden surge of scientific optimism, because of after barely 12 months of the pandemic we are seeing the vaccine going into the arms of the elderly and the vulnerable.”
He said that we must “use scientific advances to protect our entire planet, our biosphere against a challenge far worse, far more destructive than coronavirus.
“At the same time, we can create thousands of jobs, millions of jobs as we collectively recover from the pandemic.”
Katie Anderson12 December 2020 14:44
Secretary-General of the UN says climate neutrality will be main objective for 2021
Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres opened the Climate Ambition summit, stating that “5 years after the Paris Climate Agreement” we are “still not going in the right direction”.
He called on all world leaders to declare a climate emergency to ensure climate neutrality is reached by 2050 and said that this would be the central objective for the UN in 2021.
He emphasised that the world is now 1.2 degrees hotter than during pre-industrial times, and that if we don’t change course, we could reach catastrophic temperature rise of 3 degrees by the end of the century.
He also commended Britain and the EU for their bold new targets, stating that these decisions “deserve to be emulated”.
Katie Anderson12 December 2020 14:24
Climate Ambition Summit 2020
The 2020 summit is about to begin, with Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres speaking first, followed by Boris Johnson. You can watch the event live here at the top of this blog.
Katie Anderson 12 December 2020 14:01
British way of life will need ‘complete reboot’ to meet net-zero goal
All corners of British life will need a significant overhaul, from the cars we drive to the products we buy, if we are to achieve the target of net-zero emissions by 2050, according to the government’s climate advisers.
The UK’s Climate Change Committee (CCC) has set out in detail the actions we will need to take over the next 30 years in order to effectively end the UK’s contribution to the climate crisis.
Over the next five years, Britain will need shun coal-fired power, eat 10 per cent less meat and plant 30,000 hectares of new forest every year in order to be in line with the net-zero goal, the report says.
In addition, all new homes built by 2025 will need to be “carbon-neutral” – meaning they must make use of low-carbon heating such as electric heat pumps instead of oil and gas boilers.
By the early 2030s, the sale of new oil and gas boilers for homes must stop completely, along with the sale of new petrol vehicles, the CCC said.
At this point, power for cars and heating will increasingly come from low-carbon electricity, according to the report.
Katie Anderson 12 December 2020 13:37
Greta Thunberg criticises lack of action on climate, five years on from Paris Agreement
Swedish climate campaigner Greta Thunberg has condemned the “distant, hypothetical targets being set” for the climate crisis and “empty words” being used by governments.
The 17-year-old activist addressed her 10.5 million Instagram followers in a video, urging them to #FightFor1point5.
This is a reference to the target set out in the Paris accord to halt the average rise in world temperatures to 1.5C more than pre-industrial levels.
Five years after the Paris agreement was made, which was adopted by 196 countries on 12 December 2015, Ms Thunberg says “the action needed is still nowhere in sight”.
The teenager warned that if we continue at our current rate, “our remaining CO2 budget of 1.5 degrees will be gone within seven years”.
Katie Anderson 12 December 2020 13:11
UK has submitted its new national plan to the UN’s climate body
The UK has submitted its new national climate plan- or nationally determined contribution (NDC) – to the UN’s climate body, confirming its vow to cut greenhouse gas pollution by at least 68% by 2030 from 1990 levels.
It’s the first time the UK has put forward its own proposal under the global Paris Agreement, as it previously came under the European Union’s plans.
Boris Johnson’s blueprint is a considerable step-up compared to the EU’s previous plan, which would have seen the UK cut pollution by just 53% as part of the EU’s wider effort to cut emissions by 40% by 2030.
However, the EU has also announced bolder targets this year, with plans to reduce greenhouse gases by at least 55% on 1990 levels across its 27 member states.
Ahead of today’s climate ambition summit, the UK has outlined how the country will adapt to the impacts of the climate crisis, including ecological threats, heatwaves, water shortages and flooding.
And it has re-confirmed its pledge from 2019 to double funding for developing countries to help them cope with the climate emergency, to £11.6 billion over the next five years.
Katie Anderson12 December 2020 12:39
UK to halt funding for overseas fossil fuel projects
UK taxpayer funds will no longer be used to support overseas fossil fuel projects, as part of the government’s push for international climate action.
Under the new plans, the UK Government will end export finance, aid funding and trade promotion for new crude oil, natural gas or coal energy projects, with “very limited exceptions” for some gas-fired power plants and other schemes.
Boris Johnson and his cabinet have been accused of hypocrisy for pushing a domestic green agenda and hosting COP26 while continuing to fund oil and gas developments in foreign nations.
Over the last four years, taxpayers have supported £21bn of overseas fossil fuel developments through trade promotion and export finance.
Although the move is being celebrated by climate crisis activists, many still worry that the government will find loopholes to fund polluting projects.
Katie Anderson 12 December 2020 12:06
US poised to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord under Joe Biden
President-elect Joe Biden has vowed that when he enters the White House he will prioritise rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, the international pact to cut global emissions and get a grip on the climate crisis.
“I will join the Paris Accord because with us out of it… It’s all falling apart,” he said during a presidential debate with Donald Trump, pointing to the rampant destruction of Brazil’s rainforests in the vacuum of US diplomatic leadership.
Back in 2015 the US, the world’s second-largest emitter, pledged to reduce emission levels between 26-28 per cent by 2025 from 2005 levels. It is not on track to reach those goals.
President Trump withdrew from the agreement in 2017, calling it a “disaster” for America and saying the decision was an end to “the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country.”
A group of interdisciplinary scientists found these claims to be false. They published a report looking at the implications of withdrawing and suggested that by the end of the century, the US could be about 5 per cent poorer with about $8trillion in losses.
President-elect Biden will not need the backing of the US Senate support to rejoin the accord, as it was set up as an executive agreement.
After rejoining, it is expected that the US will need to submit updated emission reduction targets from the Obama goals, along with a plan on how it plans to do so.
Katie Anderson 12 December 2020 11:47
Who is lagging behind on their climate promises?
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison won’t be taking part in the talks, as other leaders feel he is acting too slowly with regard to the climate crisis.
Selwin Hart, the special adviser to UN secretary-general António Guterres on climate action, said Australia had not met the threshold needed to speak.
“The three co-hosts – the UN, UK and France – provided all member states with very clear guidance from the outset that speaking slots would go to countries and other actors who show the most ambition right now”, he said.
The country has been hit by devastating climate-linked wildfires in 2020, but has shown little ambition to increase its climate commitments, despite domestic pressure to do so.
Russia will not be represented at the conference either – and it has been accused of dragging its feet.
Even though it has a target of cutting emissions to 70% of 1990 levels by 2030, campaigners warn that because its pollution is now lower than it was in 1990 due to the collapse of the Soviet Union, its target will still allow emissions to rise.
South Africa and Saudi Arabia also won’t be involved in the Climate talks.
Katie Anderson 12 December 2020 11:23
What is this weekend’s climate summit trying to achieve?
The Climate Ambition event will see nations showcase what they are doing to meet their Paris Agreement pledges, and how they plan to accelerate their actions going forward.
Each country must set out their agenda under the three pillars of the Paris Accord: mitigation, adaption and finance. There will be “no space for general statements”, said the organisers.
In light of coronavirus, the online summit is supposed to apply pressure on countries to announce bolder carbon-cutting targets.
It is hoped dramatic plans from the world’s largest economies will provide global leadership and will inspire other countries to follow suit.
A five-year review of this kind, intended to ramp up ambition, was included in the original 2015 agreement.
Katie Anderson12 December 2020 10:56