UK pledges carbon emissions cut of 78% by 2035

UK pledges carbon emissions cut of 78% by 2035


Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are about to be scaled up in ambition this week, with the UK looking to lead the way by ‘enshrining a new target in law to slash emissions by 78% by 2035’ in line with the recommendations of the Climate Change Committee.

This sixth Carbon Budget limits the volume of greenhouse gases emitted over a 5-year period from 2033 to 2037. It comes amidst warnings that countries will have to step up their commitments to reduce carbon emissions over the next 10 years if there is to be any hope of limiting a rise in temperature by well below 2°C as put forth in the Paris Agreement.

The new commitment comes ahead of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s address within the opening session of the US Leaders’ Summit on Climate, hosted by President Biden on Earth Day (22 April). The Prime Minister says he will urge countries to raise ambition on tackling climate change and join the UK in setting stretching targets for reducing emissions by 2030 to align with net zero.

Prior to the announcement the UK had a target of reducing emissions by 80% by 2050. With today’s sixth Carbon Budget announcement, the government is aiming to achieve almost the same level 15 years earlier. For the timber industry, this announcement should be warmly welcomed.

However, as the opposition has rightly pointed out – these policies will need to be supported by more than hot air and press releases – we need to see practical policies in place to achieve them – including in construction.

As we push into a year where the climate is addressed with new vigor, we will be making timber’s position as the clear material of choice well known in the coming year, including on the upcoming Environmental Audit Committee inquiry on sustainability of the built environment – closing on 15 May.

We encourage you all to provide your comments via this link before Sunday 2 May. Your responses will be collated and discussed within the Sustainability Steering Group of Timber Development UK (comprising members of TTF and TRADA) to form a united response. We will also be asking other key stakeholders such as STA for input and feedback.

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