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The Guardian view on net-zero carbon emissions: sooner is better | Editorial

02 / 05 / 2019, The Guardian

Government advisers have explained how to erase the nation’s carbon footprint. Science dictates that we do it as fast as we canBy the end of this year we should expect UK law to mandate net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Thursday’s report by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), which advises the government, sets out not only why this new target is needed, but how it can be achieved. Last year the UN warned of greatly increased dangers if countries do not stick to the lower end of the 1.5-2C of global warming mandated by the Paris agreement. Experts highlighted sea level rises and risks to insect and coral species among problems likely to be seriously exacerbated by an additional 0.5C rise.This is the reason for governments to set new, tougher targets in advance of upcoming UN climate talks, at which they will be held to account and forced to decide what happens next. At the same time, dramatic falls in the cost of renewable energy and battery storage mean that cutting emissions has become cheaper. The CCC believes it is possible to eliminate the UK’s carbon footprint altogether without investing more than already planned: that is, between 1% and 2% of GDP. So there is some good news, along with the bad. Continue reading...

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