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Britain's net-zero strategy

Dec 03, 2021

Britain's net-zero strategy

By Target Language Translation Services | Updated: 2021-12-03 11:00

Britain's net-zero strategy

The United Kingdom has some of the most ambitious emissions reduction goals in the world but lacks a plan to fully implement them, the UK Climate Change Committee has said in a new report, which called for the strengthened delivery of Britain's net-zero strategy.

In a report assessing the outcomes of the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow in November, the committee, also called the CCC, recommended that the UK focuses on taking concrete actions toward deliverable and achievable goals, instead of setting ever-tougher targets.

In its report titled COP26: Key outcomes and next steps for the UK, the CCC noted that the UK's nationally determined contribution, or NDC, is "one of the most ambitious 2030 targets for reducing emissions in the world".

"What the UK doesn't have is all the steps in place to deliver it," Chris Stark, who is chief executive of the CCC, said on Twitter.

Stark said that the UK's plans for agricultural and land decarbonization in particular are lacking. He then noted that the UK Net Zero Strategy, which the government published in October, did not lay stress on consumer and behavior change, with little content on diet change and limiting aviation.

He also said that the government has not yet agreed with the CCC recommendation of net-zero tests for new buildings, which Stark fears will leave the door open for emissions-intensive development.

Stark also suggested that the UK Treasury department might review the role of the tax system in the net-zero strategy. He said that low pricing for fossil fuels is "effectively a subsidy", and that the Treasury should consider "how higher and more consistent carbon prices" can be achieved across the economy.

"Some have called for a tougher UK 2030 NDC," Stark added. "UK efforts should focus on strengthening delivery of the net-zero strategy, rather than inflating the gap between ambition and implementation. Steps to complete the strategy need to be brought forward, filling in the gaps."

This sentiment aligns with that expressed by Chinese delegates at the COP26 conference in Glasgow, who repeatedly called for "sustained action, not empty slogans" from participating nations, and pointed out that ambitions count for little if they are not implemented successfully.

Following a September 2020 commitment to peak CO2 emissions before 2030 and to reach net-zero by 2060, China released five key documents just before the COP26 conference detailing how it will achieve its goals.

"Instead of pushing China for more ambitious targets, I think it's probably more effective to try to support China in terms of translating such goals into credible actions," Zhu Xian, vice-president and secretary-general of the Beijing-based International Finance Forum, told China Daily in a previous interview. "China recently announced action plans industry by industry-that probably is more important than trying to place on China a more ambitious agenda."

Stark also said that the UK must play a key role in coordinating climate finance for the developing world, which was a major source of tension in Glasgow after rich countries failed to make good on a promise to raise $100 billion in annual climate finance by 2020.

This article is reprinted from China Daily.

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