Plans for a 95% emissions reduction for Wales, proposed by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) as part of its recommendations on creating a net-zero economy in the UK by 2050, have been accepted by the Welsh Government.
Welsh Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths confirmed the move, which will also see Wales aim to go further than the recommended ambition and aim for net zero, today (11 June). The CCC specifically didn’t set a target of net-zero carbon for Wales because of its intensive livestock industry, which currently includes more than 10 million sheep.
Regulations will now be bought before the Welsh Assembly next year to amend current targets and carbon budgets as necessary in order to reach net-zero carbon by 2050. Sector-specific emissions goals and proposals have already been published by the Welsh Government in its low carbon plan from March 2019, but these will now be strengthened as a result of the net-zero target and the UK Government’s declaration of a climate emergency.
Griffiths said: “We are committed to delivering the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions required to make our contribution to a net zero target for the UK. Achievement of these targets would mean the UK ends its contribution to global warming within 30 years and fulfils our commitments under the Paris Agreement.”
“But I want to go further and today I am declaring our ambition to bring forward a target for Wales to achieve net zero emissions no later than 2050. In order to identify opportunities for even more rapid decarbonisation in Wales I will work closely with the CCC and other stakeholders.”
Griffiths also called on the UK Government to ensure the costs associated with the move to net zero were spread evenly across the devolved nations.
She said: “It is equally important where the main levers remain with the UK Government, it considers how its policy aimed at decarbonising the economy would impact on our ability in Wales to deliver our challenging target.
“The CCC advice recognised the need for a collective approach across the UK. I agree – any UK target can only be achieved if all Governments in the UK work more closely on this issue. That is why I have requested a meeting with my UK and Scottish counterparts to discuss how we will rise to the challenge of climate change together.”
The news comes as the chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, Rachel Reeves, presents a net zero carbon bill to the UK parliament.
Developed in line with the CCC’s recommendations on legislating for a net-zero carbon economy by 2050, which was published last month, the new bill will be introduced to the House by Reeves this afternoon.
The specifics of the bill are yet to be revealed, but the framework is broadly expected to echo the measures proposed by the CCC. These include bringing the ban on new petrol and diesel car sales forward to 2035; quadrupling the UK’s renewable energy generation capacity; rewilding 20,000 hectares of land annually and deploying carbon capture and storage (CCS) at scale.
Prime minister Theresa May is expected to support a move for net zero carbon by 2050, although it remains unclear at the time of writing whether the government will support Rachel Reeves’ bill.