Region reacts to UK fast-track of climate goals

A promise to commit to stronger climate change goals from Downing Street has been met with mixed reactions in South Yorkshire.

The targets, set to become law in June 2021, include cutting carbon emissions by 78 per cent by 2035, bringing forward the government’s original plans by 15 years.

This means the UK will be in a world-leading position in its commitments to becoming net-zero.

Richard Teasdale, Co-ordinator of the Greenpeace Sheffield local group, said: “I honestly don’t know if it’s enough. My main point is that we need to move as quickly as humanly possible to net-zero.”

The new plans come as the government has been criticised for supporting airport expansions and road building at the same time as aiming for net-zero.

Mr Teasdale said: “If you build roads, people will fill them. So that’s going completely in the wrong direction if you want to reduce the amount of carbon.”

In a statement, the Green Party said: “We welcome the move but it’s clear that the targets must be backed up by urgent and concrete policy.”

The government claim the target is possible with more electric cars, low-carbon heating, renewable electricity and cutting down on meat.

For the first time, the damage of international shipping and aviation emissions will also be included.

Kyle Hunter, 23, a student climate activist in Sheffield, said: “These are promising goals, but we need more than an action plan.

“We can’t have the government supporting new runways then backing green policy in the same breath.”

Scientists say a 78 per cent cut in emissions is needed to keep the level of rising global temperatures close to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

The announcement comes as US President Joe Biden will be holding a key climate change summit with world leaders this week.

The UK is also preparing for COP26 in the autumn, seen by many as a ‘last chance’ summit to commit to action.

Written by Levi Broomand

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