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Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 45057, tabled on 2 September 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if his Department will make an assessment of the environmental impacts of the UK not meeting its commitment to reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Answered on

21 September 2022

In June 2019, the UK became the first major economy to set a legally binding target to reach net zero emissions by 2050. To meet this target, the Government has set five-yearly carbon budgets which restrict the amount of greenhouse gas the UK can legally emit in a five year period. The UK met the first two carbon budgets and is on course to meet the third (2018 – 2022). The Net Zero Strategy sets out clear policies and proposals for keeping us on track for our coming carbon budgets (4/5/6), our ambitious Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), and sets out our vision for a decarbonised economy in 2050.

The Government has a statutory obligation to assess the risks that climate change poses to the country and develop plans and policies to address those risks. The Climate Change Committee’s Independent Assessment of UK Climate Risk offers a detailed insight into the risks and opportunities the UK faces from climate change. These include risks of drought, flooding, extreme heat, average temperature increase and pests, diseases and invasive species to terrestrial and freshwater habitats, peat and soil health, natural carbon stores and sequestration, and agriculture. This evidence informed our third UK Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA3), which we laid in Parliament on 17 January 2022. The third National Adaptation Programme, responding to the risks in CCRA3, is due to be published next year.