Zero Carbon: Progress to Date


After the UK signed the Paris Agreement in 2016, then Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom said: we will need to take the step of enshrining the Paris goal for net zero emissions in UK law. The question is not whether but how we do it.”

In April 2018, Claire Perry MP, the Minister for Clean Growth and Energy announced at the Commonwealth Summit that the government will call on the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) to lay out a route for tighter carbon controls.  Tighter carbon controls would mean a zero emission target by 2050.

CCC Net Zero Report

Following the IPCC’s report in October 2018, the UK Government officially asked the CCC to provide advice on when and how the UK should reach net zero emissions. The CCC’s response came in May 2019 with a 277-page report.

The report says that the UK should aim to reach net zero by 2050. The target for Scotland was set at 2045, given it has more capacity to remove emissions through afforestation and restoring peat. Wales, meanwhile, has been set a slightly less ambitious target of reducing emissions by 95% on 1990 levels by 2050 given its large agriculture industry. The report says that the cost to the economy would be minimal, equivalent to about 1-2% of GDP per year.

In response, the UK government has said that they will consider the recommendations of the report. The Scottish government, meanwhile, have said that they will seek to achieve a net zero targets by 2045.


Carbon Positive Liverpool

Liverpool has announced plans to become the first carbon positive city in the world by 2020, by offsetting 110% of it’s emissions through carbon positive* projects all over the world. This will be achieved through a partnership with the Poseidon Foundation, who have developed a technology that will be integrated with the day-to-day workings of Liverpool City Council. The technology offsets the carbon impact of any product or service by transparently supporting essential forest conservation projects

Liverpool City Council is already installing 15,000 energy-saving LED streetlights across 2,000 streets in order to reduce streetlight energy consumption by 82 percent. The city also has a history of taking action against carbon emissions, having cut out more than 558,000 tons since 2012.

*Carbon Positive: the removal of more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than is emitted each year. 

Under2 Coalition

 The Under2 Coalition is made up of more than 205 sub-national governments from 43 countries, committed to keeping temperature rise well below 2°C. The coalition supports their members through the development of ‘2050 pathways’, which support government’s to develop medium and long-term (2050) emission reduction strategies in line with the Paris Agreement. The coalition provides governments with the resources and tools to create identifiable targets.

Currently, both the Scottish and Welsh Government’s are signatories to the Coalition, as well as Bristol City Council and Greater Manchester City Council. The UK Government chose to endorse the Coalition in 2017.Climate change is a global problem that requires a global solution. This Coalition gives Government’s a chance to work together and learn from each other’s mistakes and successes. 

Date of Publication: 21.08.2018

Last update: 17.05.2019