U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is preparing to announce a 10-point climate plan next week, according to reports, in order to have an ambitious policy to showcase at next year’s COP26 UN climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland.
The U.K. has already set a goal of reducing emissions to net zero by 2050, mirroring the European Union’s plan. But so far Johnson hasn’t produced a detailed plan for how the U.K. will reach this target. His government is under international pressure to adopt this plan in time for next November’s summit, which was supposed to take place this month but was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
As a mini-substitute for the summit that was supposed to take place this year, Johnson is hosting a preliminary meeting of world leaders next month on the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement, called the Climate Ambition Summit 2020. Leaders at the meeting will urge all countries in the treaty (that is, all countries in the world except the United States, which left last week) to quickly submit their pledges for emissions reductions over the next decade by the end of this year, as required by the Paris pact.
The 10-point program is expected to include a commitment to move an electric vehicle target from 2035 to 2030, end U.K. funding for fossil fuels abroad, create a green infrastructure bank, give a new push for carbon capture and storage technology, increase targets for renewable energy generation such as offshore wind, and implement measures to halt biodiversity loss.
Currently the U.K. government is not yet delivering the scale of investment needed to meet its commitments under the Paris Agreement. It is only investing 12% of the funds required to tackle climate change, according to the think tank IPPR. So far only £4 billion of the £33 billion needed during this parliament has been pledged.
Concerns have been raised over whether the U.K. will lower its climate ambition and environmental standards once it leaves the European Union’s regulatory framework at the end of this year. So far it is unclear whether and how the UK will replace its participation on the EU Emissions Trading System, the bloc’s flagship tool to fight climate change.
Johnson has become an unlikely climate change warrior. He has in the past said that fears about climate change are “without foundation”. But earlier this year, a few days after the U.K. technically left the EU (but remained beholden to EU law until this end of this year), Johnson stood beside the documentary filmmaker David Attenborough to issue a mea culpa.
“The evidence is overwhelming, and this phenomenon of global warming is taking its toll on the most vulnerable populations around the planet,” he said at the press conference in London.