Britain will today set a legally-binding target to cut greenhouse gases to “net zero” by 2050, Theresa May has announced.
The Government will set out legislation today to slash emissions despite warnings from Philip Hammond that meeting the target could cost £1trillion.
The move comes after the Government’s advisory Committee on Climate Change called for the new legal target to be brought in as soon as possible and to urgently ramp up action to cut emissions.
Hitting net zero – a 100 per cent cut in emissions – will mean an end to heating of homes with traditional gas boilers, more green electricity, and a switch from petrol and diesel cars to electric vehicles, walking and cycling.
It could require people to eat less meat and dairy and take fewer flights. Any remaining pollution in 2050 from areas including aviation will need to be “offset” through measures to cut carbon such as planting trees.
Mrs May is pushing ahead with the plans despite a stark warning by Mr Hammond that it will mean less money for schools, hospitals and the police.
Number 10 said the move would boost public health, air quality and nature and will make the UK a leader on climate action, as the first G7 group of major economies to put a net zero target into law.
But it was “imperative” other countries follow suit, so there will be a review within five years to ensure other nations are taking similarly ambitious action, and that British industries are not facing unfair competition.