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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

IPPR welcomes UK's new climate change target but calls for greater ambition and a 'world-beating' plan to deliver it

IPPR has welcomed the prime minister’s expected announcement of a new target to cut UK greenhouse gas emissions by at least 68 per cent by 2030 as an “important signal”. But it has urged the government to go further – and also deliver the practical steps needed to achieve it. 

Welcoming what the government calls a “world-leading” emissions target, the progressive think tank called today for an accompanying “world-beating plan” that would be needed to deliver it.

That should include a significant increase in annual public investment in measures to reduce emissions and restore nature. IPPR has previously calculated that at least £30 billion a year additional investment is needed for this.

Responding to the announcement of the new 2030 target, Luke Murphy, head of IPPR’s cross-party Environmental Justice Commission said: 

"This new emissions target is a welcome and significant increase in ambition by the UK government, ahead of the crucial UN Summit. As host of COP 26, it sends an important signal to other countries around the world that are currently considering their own commitments. 

"This must, however, be the floor of the UK's ambition and not the ceiling. As the world's fifth largest historic emitter, the UK has a moral responsibility to go faster and further than less developed nations. Moreover, this new target excludes international aviation and shipping and it is important that the government also makes a commitment to reduce emissions in these sectors. 

"What is more, ambitions are nothing without the actions needed to realise them. While the Prime Minister's recent 10-point plan marked welcome progress, the commitments it contained weren't even enough to meet our existing legally binding targets, let alone get us on track to meet net zero. 

"If the government is serious about meeting its commitment to what it calls a world-leading emissions target, then it will need to back it up with a world-beating plan to deliver it. That will mean bringing forward greater investment, regulations and policies in areas from home retrofit to tree-planting and clean public transport.

"It must also mean a commitment to reducing the production, consumption and export of oil and gas, in line with the UK's international commitments under the Paris Agreement."

ENDS 

Luke Murphy, IPPR Associate Director and head of its cross-party Environmental Justice Commission, is available for interview 

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NOTES TO EDITORS  

1. Earlier this month IPPR published its landmark paper, The Road to COP26  by Luke Murphy and Carsten Jung, available for download at https://www.ippr.org/research/publications/road-to-cop26 

The paper called on the government to:

  • Set a nationally determined contribution (NDC) reduction target for carbon emissions of 'at least 69 per cent' by 2030. 
  • Take action to recognise the UK's historic contribution to the climate crisis by increasing its domestic ambition above this figure, or by committing £20 billion to the Green Climate Fund up to 2030, as a means to realise the non-domestic emissions reduction target and support less industrialised nations to adapt to the changing climate on their own terms. 
  • Close the near £30 billion annual investment gap needed to reach net zero by investing in home retrofit, sustainable transport and nature restoration. 

2. Only yesterday IPPR released Net Zero North Sea: a managed transition for Oil and Gas in the UK and Scotland after Covid-19, by Josh Emden, Luke Murphy and Russell Gunson, available for download at https://www.ippr.org/files/2020-12/net-zero-north-sea-nov2020.pdf

In it, the think tank called for the UK and Scottish governments to commit to a managed transition for oil and gas in Scotland and the UK by delivering a ‘Net Zero Deal' for the North Sea. 

3. That report was published as a submission to IPPR’s cross-party Environmental Justice Commission.

The Commission was set up in 2019 to present an ambitious, positive vision shaped around people’s experiences and needs, and develop a plan of action that integrates policy to address the climate and environmental emergencies while also delivering economic and social justice. 

It is chaired by Laura Sandys, Caroline Lucas MP and Hilary Benn MP. They are joined on the commission by leading figures from business, academia, civil society, trade unions, and youth and climate activism. Find out more about the commission here: https://www.ippr.org/environment-and-justice 

4. Other recent IPPR publications on climate and the environment include:

- Transforming the Economy after Covid-19
https://www.ippr.org/research/publications/transforming-the-economy-after-covid19 

- All hands to the pump: A home improvement plan for England
http://www.ippr.org/research/publications/all-hands-to-the-pump 

- Faster, further, fairer: Putting people at the heart of tackling the climate and nature emergency (interim report of the IPPR Environmental Justice Commission)
http://www.ippr.org/ publications/faster-further-fairer 

5. IPPR is the UK’s pre-eminent progressive think tank. With more than 40 staff in offices in London, Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh, IPPR is Britain’s only national think tank with a truly national presence. www.ippr.org