The UK`s goal under the 2015 Paris Agreement, when it shared a joint emissions plan with the EU, was to reduce by 53% by 2030. However, this was widely considered non-stretchable and the UK also had a national CO2 budget, in accordance with the Climate Change Act, which imposes an average reduction of 57% between 2028 and 2032. The announcement will take place ahead of the British co-chair of the climate ambition summit on Saturday 12 December, which will coincide with the fifth anniversary of the historic Paris Agreement. The summit calls on countries around the world to present NPCs or other ambitious climate plans as we head towards the UN climate talks at COP26, which the UK government will hold next year in Glasgow. The UK government`s strengthening of climate policy over the past 12 months is a positive development, but, as the CCC points out, much more is needed for the UK to move towards its target of zero net emissions by 2050. In its 2020 Progress Report to Parliament, the CCC noted that 14 of its 21 key indicators for the necessary progress were moving in the right direction, but that by 2019 only four indicators were on track and that these were the same four indicators as in 2018. They cover the overall distance travelled by vehicles, emissions and production of renewable energy in the energy sector, as well as the percentage of heat demand from buildings from low-carbon sources. The publication of key sector strategies in 2020 will be crucial in assessing the UK government`s commitment to zero net emissions by 2050. These include the transport decarbonisation plan, as transport emissions remain the main source of emissions in the UK economy and are currently only slightly below 1990 levels. The Energy White Paper, originally due to be published in mid-2019, will pave the way for the decarbonisation of the energy system, while the heat and buildings strategy and the Future Homes Standard, which are currently under development, will play a crucial role in ensuring rapid decarbonisation of the building sector, a central issue for the next decade and beyond. Plan B led to an earlier dispute over proposals to extend London`s Heathrow Airport, where the government argued that the Paris agreement was irrelevant. In February, the Court of Appeal objected to this assessment and the government`s plans were declared illegal.
The future of offshore wind is particularly promising: the government auctioned six new offshore wind farms in 2019 for a total volume of 5.5 GW.