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Carbon Reduction Goals

Our pathway to a net-zero future

Reaching net-zero by 2050

The UK is one of 189 signatories to the Paris Agreement, an international agreement which commits to keeping global warming below 2°C, and 1.5°C if at all possible. To achieve this, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recommends reducing Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by 40-60% between 2010 and 2030 and then further to 100% by 2050.

 

The UK Government was one of the first to commit to this goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In practice this means the UK goal is a 100% reduction on 1990 emission levels. The Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the UK’s independent advisory panel on climate change offers compelling analysis of the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the UK and guidance on which policies might set the UK on the pathway to net zero emissions by 2050.

Indicative rates of decarbonisation required to achieve 80% and 100% reductions by 2050 - © CCC

Based on their projections a 3% reduction in GHG between 2020 and 2021, and 33% between 2020 and 2030 is necessary to keep the UK on track to reach it’s 2050 target. Reaching net zero will require changes to the way that we heat our homes, eat, travel and shop. It will require action from businesses, and supportive policies from Government. Even so, the CCC estimate that over 60% of necessary changes will require action from individuals. 

National targets and policy efforts can only go so far. Adopting these  targets as individuals, businesses and organisations at a local level is important too.  By committing to the above decarbonisation targets on a local or individual level, we ensure that we are all contributing to the international effort to reach net-zero by 2050.

It is worth noting that national statistics only reflect emissions that have been created within the national borders. However estimates of personal and organisational emissions (like our carbon footprint calculator) usually also include emissions that have been created outside the UK, for example by growing foods and manufacturing goods abroad, and through international transportation and shipping.