As major UK political parties sign up to the net-zero target demanded by the latest climate science, CAT calls for a cross-party consensus around a delivery plan by 2040, to ensure the UK gains full benefits from playing its part in a just transition. Paul Allen reports.
Since last week’s release of the IPCC 1.5C Report, there has been a growing consensus on the need to reach net-zero emissions to avoid really dangerous climate change. The sooner we can achieve this, the better our chances of avoiding some of the most serious impacts.
Achieving net-zero by 2040 is a viable pathway; CAT’s Zero Carbon Britain research has shown that we already have all the tools and technologies we need.
Tackling climate change and creating a fairer future for everyone is no longer a technological challenge, it’s a challenge of will, of ambition, and of vision.
So, just as with airport security or health and safety, we need cross-party agreement on its delivery.
Without continuity, we lose support
Between now and 2040 there will be at least five or six general elections. As we have witnessed in the past, this can cause massive shifts in our approach to rising to the climate challenge.
Time is tight, the stakes are now very high, and we cannot allow our children’s future to be used as a political football.
This is why CAT is calling for an immediate and inclusive multi-stakeholder cross-party process to build national consensus around a delivery plan.
Businesses, councils, citizens, health and education sectors deserve a stable platform for planning and implementing the most rapid transformation of how we deliver society’s needs ever seen in Britain.
A consistent plan that runs to time whoever gets elected is vital to give investors confidence and to build social confidence and support.
A plan for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions must cover all sectors
Despite the turbulence of changes to feed-in tariffs, zero carbon homes standards, and other environmental policies, the UK has made progress on cleaning up the low-hanging-fruit in switching to cleaner renewable energy.
We now need to ramp up investment in renewables and deliver rapid transitions in the more difficult areas of heat, transport, food and land-use.
If we do it right, the zero carbon transition can offer one of the most exciting opportunities for multi-solving challenges in health, social, agricultural, employment and economic stability, whilst also funding the regeneration of biodiverse natural ecological systems.
Seeing is believing: climate change is here
The summer of 2018 will most likely go down in history as the time it became crystal clear that humanity is facing an urgent crisis. Levels of ambition for action must reflect what climate science is telling us.
There is an urgent need to integrate accelerated short-term action with enhanced ambition in longer-term planning.
There are many good, pioneering examples of how we can and must respond emerging across the UK and around the globe – these need rapid replication.
CAT’s recent report, Raising Ambition: Zero Carbon Scenarios from Across the Globe, maps 130 scenarios and models from countries across the globe that show how a transition to 100% renewable energy is feasible during every hour of the year and is more cost effective than the existing system, if you include all the real costs and benefits.
We can do this!