1 August 2018

Over 100 MPs urge Theresa May to set zero-emissions target

A cross-party group of British MPs has called on the government to create a net-zero emissions target before 2050.

113 MPs have signed an open letter to Prime Minister Theresa May calling on her to enshrine a net-zero target in law within the lifetime of the current Parliament, i.e. before 2022.

The call follows energy minister Claire Perry’s request for advice on achieving the goal from its climate advisers.

“Setting ourselves the goal of net zero emissions will put us at the forefront of the race for investment in clean industries, creating jobs all around the UK and inspiring the next generation,” the letter reads, backed by leading Conservative, Labour, Green, Plaid Cymru, and Scottish National Party politicians.

A zero-emissions target is seen as a key component in meeting the goals of the Paris climate agreement to keep global temperatures to well below 2 degrees. Other countries, such as France, Sweden, Norway and New Zealand, have already set their own targets to reach net-zero between 2030 and 2050.

On the European Union level, putting a precise date on achieving this bold target has been less forthcoming. A recent agreement on energy opted for a zero-carbon economy “as early as possible” in the final wording.

“A net zero emissions target, fully implemented, will cut energy bills by improving the efficiency of our homes and businesses, it will get rid of the exhaust pipe emissions that pollute the air we breathe, and it will help to bring about the restoration of our natural habitats so they become stores of carbon, from forests to peatlands,” the MPs’ letter continues.

The letter was accompanied by an op-ed in The Times newspaper by Conservative MP Sir Bernard Jenkin and Labour MP Alex Sobel. The piece said that climate change was one of the few things almost all British politicians agreed on.

“A warming planet is one of the most serious long-term threats our country faces, a fact long acknowledged by defence chiefs,” they added.

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