The global momentum for action on climate change has been hard to escape over the past year. From the growing pressures of over a million young people striking for their futures, to the mass protests that brought many parts of London to a standstill in recent weeks, to mainstream restaurants chains rolling out plant based alternatives, to towns, countries, and now political parties all declaring the urgency of climate change.
This morning, the Committee on Climate change have given the UK government monumental advice to reach a target where the UK is no longer contributing to climate change after 2050 – which is a pretty big deal!
What is net zero?
The science is clear – if we continue to pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, climate change will continue to get worse. All countries are already committed under the Paris Agreement to reduce emissions to a net of zero.
The question is, by when? Getting here involves cutting emissions by as much as possible across all areas of society. The second step is removing excess greenhouse gas emissions through planting more trees or using technology. Altogether this will leave a balance of zero. Many countries have declared net zero emission goals, including Norway (2030), Iceland (2040), Sweden (2045), and Costa Rica, France and New Zealand (2050), as well as many businesses and local councils.
What does the advice say?
Overall, there is a lot to celebrate. The report advises the government to set a legally binding net zero emissions target of 2050, which is compatible with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C target. It includes all greenhouse gasses (not just carbon, which some other countries have used as a loophole), includes some really tricky sectors to tackle such as shipping and aviation (also often left out), and means that we are not allowed to offset any of these emissions overseas (which countries have previously done to avoid counting a lot of their emissions – naughty, I know right!)
Despite this being on the more ambitious end of what they could have advised, we know that it’s possible to reach net zero sooner – 2045. And we must try as hard as we can to combat climate change as soon as we possibly can.
We’re at a crossroads. The government now have all they need to shift our role in climate change to stop it. We know it is possible. We know that the majority of British public want to reduce emissions to zero. It’s crucial they hear your voice telling them #TheTimeIsNow if we’re to take the right path.
Here are three ways you can use your voice to help bring about the change you want to see.
1) Join us in London this June!
This June, thousands are gathering in London to meet their MPs and tell them The Time Is Now for action. Join us on the 26th and take your message straight to Parliament. We hope it will be the largest mass lobby for climate and the environment the UK has ever seen. Bring your friends, coursemates, families, or churches – sign up here and see how many others in your constituency will be joining you. Find out all you need here.
2) Take it to the top
Add your name to this petition, alongside thousands of others, to ask the Prime Minister to make sure the UK adopts a legally binding target to reach net zero emissions by 2045, for a safer and more certain climate for this and generations to come.
3) Make some noise
The most important thing is that the government and your MPs hear you loud and clear that this is important! Make some noise on social media and tell your MP this is important to you and that you back them in putting the UK on a path to ending it’s contribution to climate change (don’t forget to tag them in the post).