After a week of cabinet turmoil, the UK has decided to ink the most ambitious carbon emissions cuts of all developed nations.
The UK has decided on 50% emissions cuts by 2025, averaged across the years 2023 to 2027, measured against 1990 levels.
Further, the cuts are part of a plan to meet legally binding emissions cuts of 80% by 2050, and will also place the UK in a good position to make 60% cuts by 2030.
The deal will mean an initial two decades of heavy cuts to carbon emissions, which will require society-wide changes, including for business, transport, energy, and home life.
Cabinet ministers had argued for weeks about the deal, including over whether or not the changes to clean energy production were affordable in the time frame. The energy secretary, Chris Huhne, had strongly supported the proposed plans, while the chancellor, George Osborne, had been worried about the impact on the overall economy.
Cabinet ministers are hoping that companies involved in developing clean technologies, such as offshore wind farms, will be interested n investing in the UK, given this major new commitment to clean energy and long-term emissions cuts. It is also hoped that the commitment to more energy from renewable sources will stimulate homegrown clean technology industries.
The plan requires heat pumps to be installed in 2.6 million homes by 2050, and that 31% of new cars, and 14% of all those on the road, will have to be electric.
It has been estimated that £16 billion a year in investment will be required to fund the plan. The chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change, David Kennedy, has said that the plan should deliver higher economic growth, and could eventually give the UK lower electricity prices than its competitors.
Whether the Uk actually achieves the significant cuts is another matter, but it’s certainly an encouraging sign that things are moving in the right direction in the place where the industrial revolution began. In comparison, despite the rhetoric, there is currently little real political progress being made across the pond in the US.