UK government needs radical change to meet climate targets - Africa News Quick
  • September 3, 2021

UK government needs radical change to meet climate targets

The UK government has pledged to publish its global net zero strategy ahead of the COP26 summit that will take place in Glasgow this November. The strategy will describe how the UK intends to meet its net zero commitment, and we anticipate that it will define the pace and level of change necessary to achieve that commitment.

According to the Climate Change Committee (CCC), existing policies put the UK on track to achieve just a fifth of the emissions reductions needed by 2035. Progress on ambition has been made in recent months, with significant progress that They include the publication of the strategy on transport decarbonization, as well as commitments with dates for the elimination of coal in the electricity sector.

However, more detailed political commitments are still needed to show how delivery will be scaled up to put the UK on a credible path to net zero.

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In this context, the investors we represent at The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) – the European investor collaboration body on climate change and the voice of more than 330 investors with more than € 39 trillion in assets under management, Acting for a Low Carbon, Prosperous Future – Welcome the fact that the UK government has committed to publishing its strategy imminently.

We hope that it will continue to demonstrate the level of ambition highlighted in the updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and will provide a clear, integrated and detailed roadmap to achieve net zero emissions, with policy incentives to achieve those pathways. This will require increasing the level of ambition and detail within existing sector strategies, as well as sharing details of those that are yet to be published, such as the heating and buildings strategy.

Clear sectoral transition pathways from the UK government would support understanding about the transition for a variety of parties and, in turn, accelerate the deployment of zero net investment. This would also establish a framework within which investors could set goals for portfolio emission reductions consistent with a net zero pathway, and would also facilitate company commitments and management processes that would support meeting those goals.

We welcome the UK pushing forward carbon phase-out dates in the energy sector to 2024 and the sale of new gasoline and diesel vehicles to 2030. Following these initial commitments, further phase-out dates for other carbon intensive activities and a timetable for the transition to net zero-alignment alternatives are now urgently needed.

In particular, we are eager for the government to establish a timetable for phase-out commitments in other areas, including gas power generation, the sale of new fossil fuel vehicles, and fossil fuel boilers. As part of the sixth carbon budget report, the CCC recommended a series of sectoral transition milestones that would support moving in the right direction, including scaling up sales of renewable electricity and battery electric vehicles, and the deployment of heating networks. low carbon emissions. .

In this context, many investors are already taking proactive steps to drive the transition to a net zero economy. More than 450 investors worldwide have signed the Global Investor Agenda Statement to Governments on the Climate Crisis, calling on government leaders around the world to increase their ambition and accelerate action to address the climate crisis.

In the statement, investors encourage all governments to strengthen their own climate change commitments and implement national policies to meet those goals of limiting global warming to no more than 1.5 ° C.

Get ahead of politics

Investors are also making notable commitments within their own activities, with 120 asset managers, including many in the UK, having made zero net commitments to their portfolios under the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative, and 28 asset owners making Similar commitments under the Paris Aligned Investment Initiative.

More than 570 investors are also part of the Climate Action 100+ initiative, which is focused on actively collaborating with the world’s largest corporate emitters of greenhouse gases to take ambitious action on climate change.

In an environment where the implementation of an ambitious net zero strategy for the UK will require a substantial investment program of up to £ 50 trillion per year by 2030, these investors could provide an important mechanism to support the realization of those ambitions. .

In what will undoubtedly be a watershed year, there is a significant opportunity for the UK to show that it is serious about aligning its remarkable climate change commitments with effective policy and implementation: investors are ready to work with policy makers to achieve a prosperous net zero. emission economy.

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