With billowing smoke stacks and steam-powered contraptions, the United Kingdom kick-started the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s. Now, the Brits are leading a new, renewable energy revolution by becoming the first G20 nation to pass a net-zero law.
This past June, Prime Minister Theresa May authorized the net-zero addition to the UK’s 2008 Climate Change Act.
The net-zero legislation seeks to balance the amount of emitted greenhouse gases with the equivalent emissions offset or sequestered. The UK aims to achieve the net-zero goal by 2050 by reducing carbon emissions and offsetting with carbon credits or sequestration through rewilding or carbon capture and storage.
With the net-zero target, the UK’s goal is one of the most aggressive among industrialized nations. This past spring, the UK Committee on Climate Change, the UK’s independent climate advisory body, recommended the net-zero goal.
The UK has already made strides, reducing carbon emissions 42 percent. In addition, the net-zero target doesn’t increase the UK budget devoted to the Climate Change Act, which is about 1 percent to 2 percent of the planned GDP in 2050.
“Today, we’re leading the world yet again in becoming the first major economy to pass new laws the reduce emissions to net zero by 2050 while remaining committed to growing the economy – putting clean growth at the heart of our modern Industrial Strategy,” says UK Energy and Clean Growth Minister Chris Skidmore. “We’re pioneering the way for other countries to follow in our footsteps driving prosperity by seizing the economic opportunities of becoming a greener economy.”
The net-zero goal will improve air quality and health and reduce noise pollution. The net-zero emissions standard will also boost the UK’s emerging technologies, such as electric vehicles, renewable energy generation and low-carbon products and services.