The 2008 Climate Change Act commits the UK to:
- 80% reduction in GHG emissions by 2050
- 5 yearly carbon budgets that set caps on emissions from now to 2050
The first five carbon budgets, leading to 2032, have been set in law. Meeting the fifth carbon budget (2028-2032) requires emissions to be reduced by 57% on 1990 levels by 2030.
Likewise, the EU has targeted a 20-20-20 strategy, such that, by 2020, there will be:
- 20% reduction in GHG emissions (rising to 30% through international agreement)
- 20% reduction in primary energy use compared to projected levels, by improving energy efficiency
- 20% of Europe’s energy consumption will come from renewable sources
The 2015 Paris Agreement, within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, strengthens the global response to the threat of climate change by aiming to keep the global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Additionally, the agreement aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change.
These are ambitious targets and meeting them will require major technological, economic/policy and socio-technical innovation throughout the energy lifecycle. This will have profound economic and social implications for 21st century Britain and the world at large.