In 1992. more than 150 countries signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The environmental treaty was designed to support a global response ta climate change. Every year. delegations from countries signed to the convention gather for the Conference of the Parties, more commonly known as COP. The first COP was held in Berlin in 1995. More than 25. later, the Scottish city of Glasgow will hast COP26 at the beginning of November this year.
UK is yet to announce its plan for how to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions, possibly this coming week. The government has pledged to reduce emissions sharply by 2035 and to reach net-zero by 2050 – meaning the country will absorb as much carbon dioxide (through things like tree planting) as it emits. It has already signed up to ambitious targets to set an example for other countries. But the UK is yet to be on track to meet those targets. As the UK is the host of the meeting, they will need to show it is ready to act. As the Queen and Greta Thunberg have both seemingly put it, in different ways – less talking, more doing.
So what could be in the government’s net-zero strategy?
Warmth should be subsidized
Tackling the way citizens heat their homes is a priority.
So the government is likely to make clear how it will meet previous manifesto commitments on insulating homes, especially social housing, and promoting the switch to cleaner heating sources.
Significantly decrease the burger costing
According to a survey by the think tank Demos, more than 90% of citizens would be in favor of a government-led campaign to reduce meat and dairy consumption. The government can reduce the taxes on fruits and veg and increase the tax on meat, in that way it can influence us what to buy.
Charging of streetlamps
The switch to electric vehicles (EVs) is underway but there’s a roadblock: not enough charging points. Around 30% of homeowners don’t have access to charge vehicles at home or work.MPs have proposed requiring property developers to include public charging points.
Accounting for Climate Change
Nick Mabey’s (Nick Mabey is the Chief Executive of E3G) number one priority though is something that sounds more mundane: he wants new rules obliging firms to publish their longer-term plans to reach net-zero.
The UK already has a sort of tax on carbon because the industry has to pay for emissions permits. The citizen could raise these taxes further. However, the CBI argues that tax breaks would be more appropriate.
Invest in it
Rishi Sunak (is a British politician who has served as Chancellor of the Exchequer since 2020). may not be keen on further big outlays after the past 18 months.
But, both employers and workers’ organizations believe it is crucial. The CBI is calling for a “wall of investment” from the government and the TUC puts a figure on it saying over the next two years £85bn should be spent on everything from faster broadband to reforestation.
Not words, but deeds
There are dozens of more policy options, from building more nuclear generation to a frequent flyer levy. But whatever the net-zero strategy contains, it’s the UK government that has the power and resource to make decisions about the change that will end the climate emergency.