Rishi Sunak’s plans to delay climate targets attacked, as UK government pushes anti-green drive
The UK government’s plans to delay legally-binding climate targets in order to allow excess CO2 emissions to continue until the end of the decade have been attacked by environmental groups, politicians and scientists.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak proposed the plan at a major speech on Tuesday, as part of a push towards economically dubious and potentially dangerous anti-green policies that has included the rejection of one of the world’s most stringent vehicle emissions standards.
The proposals, which are part of a plan to transition away from the Paris Agreement targets, would allow the UK to continue its reliance on fossil fuels for electricity generation until as late as 2030, as part of a move to court investment from fossil fuel companies.
Environmental campaigners and politicians criticised the plans – arguing that any attempt to delay climate goals would make it even more difficult to avoid catastrophic levels of global warming. Labour MP Caroline Lucas described the move as “reckless and irresponsible”, while Greenpeace UK’s chief scientist Dr Doug Parr said that the government was “taking a sledgehammer to the Paris Agreement”.
The UK is currently in the middle of a long-term transition to a low-carbon economy, and the government’s plans to delay emissions cuts will likely make this much more difficult. Critics of the scheme have argued that delaying emissions cuts could also bring serious consequences, such as increased flooding and extreme weather events. Climate scientists warn that any such delay could push global temperatures beyond the two degree Celsius target set by the Paris Agreement – a threshold that is considered the “tipping point” for dangerous climate change.
The UK government has argued that the delay in emissions targets will be necessary in order to save jobs and grow the economy, but critics warn that the plans risk creating a worse economic outcome by storing up tougher challenges for the future.