The UK could have net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050

3rd May 2019 | Commercial Energy

A new report says the UK could release net-zero greenhouse gases by 2050 if people stopped overhearing their houses, flew less and cut back on meat. The Committee on Climate Change (CCC), which advise the UK government, have announced that it’s completely possible for the UK to have net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Greenhouse gases are released by everything from cars to factories to farms and are a big contributor to climate change. A net-zero economy might still release emissions like carbon dioxide into the air, but will take them all back out again through things like planting trees or carbon capture technology.

Greenhouse gas

The CCC says big improvements to renewable energy technologies have for the first time made it affordable to replace non-renewable power sources like coal, oil and gas. But becoming net-zero would also require Brits to give some things up. In particular, they should completely stop heating their home above 19 degrees, drive electric cars, fly less, switch to a low-meat diet and separate out their biodegradable food waste to prevent it going to landfills. The CCC also thinks the UK government must support these policies with money (probably tens of billions of pounds) and laws to make sure people stick to them.

Stopping climate change would have big economic benefits for people living in the UK. Among the problems climate change would cause is damage to crops (making food more difficult or expensive to get hold of) increased flooding (destroying property, workplaces and communities) and more diseases like malaria (bumping up NHS costs, work absenteeism and general unhappiness).

But a zero-emission UK is not enough on its own to avert climate change: the entire world has to follow suit (an even then, there’s a 50/50 chance it’ll be too little, too late). And implementing the CC recommendation will impose costs Brits might not be willing to stomach.

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