U.K. Said to Prepare to Adopt Carbon Pollution Target This Week

  • Britain to back recommendation to cut CO2 by 57% by 2030
  • Move may boost investor confidence after Brexit vote Friday

The U.K. government is poised to adopt this week new targets for reining in fossil-fuel pollution around 2030, a move that could assure investors in clean energy that the nation will leave environmental goals intact despite voting to exit the European Union.

Amber Rudd, who leads the the Department of Energy and Climate Change, is set to endorse a proposal to cut U.K. emissions by 57 percent below 1990 levels by 2032, according to a person with knowledge of the plan who asked not to be named before the official announcement. The government is adopting a recommendation made in November by its adviser, the Committee on Climate Change.

The decision would help alleviate concerns that the U.K. may abandon ambitious climate policies as it exits the EU, which is currently working how it will dole out burdens under its own target.

“Adopting the budget rapidly and putting in place a very detailed emissions reduction plan by the end of the year will be critical in terms of increasing private sector investment in low carbon technologies and keeping the cost of investment low,” said Nick Molho, executive director of Aldersgate Group, an alliance of business leaders, politicians and nonprofit organizations.

Britain’s 57 percent cut would be consistent with international and European commitments, the Committee on Climate Change said in its November report. It would limit Britain to 1.77 billion tons of emissions for the five years from 2028 through 2032.

Timetable Fixed

Rudd must decide by June 30 whether to adopt the so-called carbon budget recommended made by the committee. She’s required by law to explain any deviation from the panel’s advice. The government must then set out a plan by the end of 2016 on how it will meet that target.

The new target would help ensure the U.K. would deliver its long-term goal of 80 percent cuts by 2050 “which remains an appropriate contribution to the global effort that the latest climate science suggests is required to keep a likely chance of limiting global temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius”, the CCC has said.

It’s not yet certain what impact the U.K.’s referendum to quit the EU will have on the bloc’s own climate target for 2030. EU leaders agreed in 2014 to slash pollution by at least 40 percent by 2030 compared with 1990 levels. The bloc’s regulator is due to propose individual goals for member states next month. 

The U.K. will remain a fully-fledged member of the EU, with all the rights and obligations, until the exit talks finished, Anna-Kaisa Itkonen, climate spokeswoman for the European Commission, said on Monday. 

After the divorce, the 27 member states that stay in the EU will have to decide on their individual ambitions. They could raise their targets so that the group can compensate for the British exit and stick to the 40 percent target or loosen the goal, according to Tomas Wyns, a researcher at the Institute of European Studies at the Brussels Free University.

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