Britain lacks plan to meet climate target – watchdog

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: View of a charging point in Leyland

By Susanna Twidale

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain still has not set out a plan on how will meet its climate target of net zero emissions by 2050, almost two years after setting the goal in law, a parliamentary watchdog said on Friday.

Britain in 2019 became the G7 first member to set a net zero target, which will require wholesale changes in the way that Britons travel, eat and consume electricity.

Britain is also hosting international climate talks in November in Glasgow, where countries are expected to outline plans to meet the Paris climate agreement to keep global warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).

“As it gears up to host the international climate summit COP 26 a few months from now the UK Government lacks a plan for how it will achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050,” a report by parliament’s Public Accounts Committee said.

Departments across government are not sufficiently considering the target when making decisions, while not enough has been done to engage the public on the behavioural changes needed.

“As much as 62% of the future reduction in emissions will rely on individual choices and behaviours, from day to day lifestyle choices to one-off purchases such as replacing boilers,” the report said.

Britain has launched several emission reduction measures such as subsidy schemes to increase renewable electricity capacity and will ban the sale of new cars and vans powered wholly by petrol and diesel from 2030.

Separately a cross-party group of lawmakers called on the government to set out ambitions for the climate conference.

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“The current ‘themes’-based approach… is too broad, without clear measures for success,” the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee said.

It also said the government should plan for the possibility that large parts of the summit could be downscaled or need to be moved online due to the risks posed by the coronavirus.

It was previously anticipated up to 90,000 people from around 200 countries could attend the talks and the government has said it still hopes for an in person event.

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