Fat chance! EU mocked over 2050 green target as Germany falters – hours after UK pledge

Boris Johnson's climate change policies slammed by Tominey

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The European climate law includes a target to reduce net emissions by at least 55 percent on 1990 levels by the end of the decade as it aims to reach zero net emissions by 2050. Ms Merkel hailed the landmark climate change legislation as “a result” but critics were quick to highlight Germany was already struggling to meet existing targets.

The Germans are already behind on their targets

Prof Alan Sked

Professor Alan Sked, emeritus professor of international history at LSE, said: “The EU aims to be carbon neutral by 2050. Sure.

“The Germans are already behind on their targets.”

The Brussels deal comes just in time for a summit of world leaders hosted by the US government where the EU and other global powers will promote their pledges to protect the planet.

Britain is already ahead of the game with Boris Johnson announcing a “world-leading” new legal target to cut the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions by nearly four-fifths by 2035.

The Prime Minister described the target to reduce emissions by 78 percent on 1990 levels by 2035, which will be set in law under the Government’s sixth carbon budget, as the most ambitious in the world.

It comes as the Government seeks to show climate leadership ahead of the United Nations Cop26 summit in Glasgow in November.

Announcing the move, Mr Johnson said: “We want to continue to raise the bar on tackling climate change, and that’s why we’re setting the most ambitious target to cut emissions in the world.

“The UK will be home to pioneering businesses, new technologies and green innovation as we make progress to net-zero emissions, laying the foundations for decades of economic growth in a way that creates thousands of jobs.

“We want to see world leaders follow our lead and match our ambition in the run-up to the crucial climate summit Cop26, as we will only build back greener and protect our planet if we come together to take action.”

The new target is in line with advice from the Government’s advisory Committee on Climate Change, whose chief executive Chris Stark welcomed it as a historic decision that puts the UK at the forefront of global climate efforts.

Mr Stark said: “In committing to cut emissions by almost 80 percent in 2035, the UK has taken its place at the forefront of global efforts to reach net-zero – crucial in the fight against climate change.

“Now we have set this goal in law, Government, business and people up and down the country can throw their full weight behind the actions needed to get us there.

“It means that every choice we make from now must be the right one for our climate.”

For the first time, the target will also include the UK’s contribution to international shipping and flights, which the Government said would support the sectors to reduce emissions and develop clean technologies.

And it builds on a pledge made last year to cut emissions by 68 percent by 2030 as part of commitments under the global Paris climate accord.

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The 2035 target is part of efforts to drive down greenhouse gases to “net zero” by 2050, with emissions cut as much as possible and any remaining pollution “offset” by measures that absorb carbon such as planting trees.

The Government has indicated it will set out a net-zero strategy for how it will cut emissions to meet the 2050 goal ahead of the talks in November.

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