Two recent high-profile reports show the UK and Scottish Government continue to fall short on climate change. POW UK will continue to campaign for new policies to address the climate crisis, but we need your help to be successful. Read on to find out where we are now and what we need to do next…

Last week confirmed the UK is still off track for the Government’s target of Net Zero (no greenhouse gas emissions in total) by 2050, meaning we would fail to do our part in keeping global heating below 1.5 degrees. Not cool.

This comes from the new progress report by the Committee on Climate Change, the UK Government’s own advisory body on climate change. Not only is the UK behind on slowing climate change, but we are also behind on ensuring resilience to the impacts of climate change for “even the minimum climate risks faced”. Our Government is failing to protect us as citizens. And that’s literally their first priority.

Not only that, but the 2050 Net Zero target itself is insufficient to have a good chance of keeping to 1.5 degrees of heating to avoid the heaviest impacts of climate change. The Government is setting a low bar and failing to reach even that.

Whilst Scotland has set a more ambitious target of Net Zero by 2045, national greenhouse gas emissions actually rose 1.5% in 2018 compared to 2017. This meant the 2018 target (a 54% reduction since 1990) was missed, leaving them off track for their interim 2030 target.

Target: Net zero by 2050
14/21 progress indicators failed
Only 2/31 key policy milestones met over last year
Target: Net Zero by 2045
2018 greenhouse gas emissions target missed

In the UK, the recent picture isn’t any better; there’s been almost no progress in cutting emissions in the last decade on whole categories such as transport or agriculture. Worse still, the policies needed to catch up aren’t in place or even in the pipeline.

Graph: Carbon Brief

So what’s needed? The Committee on Climate Change report says we need new Net Zero policy packages in the next few months, such as an updated energy policy looking beyond electricity, and including flights in the climate targets update (due later this year).

Between the Committee on Climate Change and Scotland Advisory Group on Economic Recovery reports, it is clear the steps for a resilient recovery to Covid-19 include ensuring any oil and gas bailouts are linked to Net Zero targets. The time is now to implement changes as there are opportunities for policies to support a just transition, such as reskilling oil and gas workforce for the UK’s future low-carbon industries. 

POW UK will continue to continue to inspire and equip the outdoor sports community to push for climate action to reach a Net Zero future. In the coming months, following on from the suggestions of these reports, we will be pushing for a just transition from domestic oil and gas, better support for community energy, corporate Net Zero action within the outdoor industry, and better climate literacy in the outdoor community. Please do whatever you can to help.

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(Title image: annual average temperatures in the UK from 1884-2019.

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