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Can the UK Achieve Net Zero by 2050?

In order to avoid an extremely bad climatic impact, global greenhouse emissions must drop by 50% in the next decade and must reach net-zero around 2050. The urgency of Net Zero prompted the United Nations Secretary-general to invite world leaders to the Climate Action Summit in September  2019, where several countries, including the United Kingdom, committed to Net Zero 2050.  The United Kingdom is among the countries taking the Net Zero 2050 target very seriously.

What are Net-Zero Emissions?

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The world would achieve Net Zero Emission when the remaining industrial-caused Greenhouse Gasses (GHG) emissions are evened out by removing GHGs from the atmosphere. This process is known as the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.  Net Zero implies that human-caused emissions such as those from vehicles, factories, fossil fuels, and lots more should be eliminated entirely or reduced to as close to zero as possible. If zero cannot be attained, then it should be balanced by restoring the forest or setting up storage Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology, all aimed at decarbonizing the atmosphere.

Countries to Reach Net-Zero at the Same Time?

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Net Zero 2050 is a global average, and not all countries can meet it.  Not all countries can meet Net Zero 2050 because of the vastly different economic performances and stages of development. However, major emitters like the United Kingdom, China, United States, and some other regions in the European Union and around the world should attain Net-Zero by 2050. It is hoped, however, that major emitters would attain Net Zero a little bit earlier than 2050.

Aside from the countries listed above, other countries that have committed to reaching net-zero include Costa Rica, Denmark, France, Japan, Iceland, Fiji, Finland, the Marshall Islands, Portugal, Uruguay, Switzerland, and Sweden.

What Does Net Zero Mean for the UK?

The United Kingdom has emphasized that Net Zero 2050 is a necessary transformation that is desirable and affordable. This legally binding target has wide political support, but the scale of activities required to meet the target is gigantic.

In a bid to meet the Net Zero 2050 goals, the UK has planned to phase out Petrol and diesel cars completely. Automobiles that use diesel and petrol would be banned entirely in favor of electric vehicles between 2030 and 2035.

Homes using natural gas as fuel for the heating system would also be banned, and homes would be connected to gas grids starting from 2025. That’s not all; the CCC has also envisaged cutting 20% of beef, dairy products, and lamb from consumption before 2050 because meat also has heavy environmental impacts.

What are the implications of Minimizing Emission in the UK?

The landscape in the United Kingdom would significantly change around 2050. A Fifth (15%) of the farmlands would be used for growing biofuel crops and also for planting trees.

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Completely eradicating emissions would not be possible because farming activities like cattle rearing and aviation would still emit gasses. However, tree planting would be tripled to even it out and help take away carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. According to the Climate Change Commission, about 1.5bn trees must be planted before 2050. Net-Zero offers new job opportunities for people in the UK and also would make the nation healthier. Fossil fuel burning would end, air pollution would decrease, and people would walk and cycle more, eat lesser meat, and attain a healthier life.

What it takes

The United Kingdom is set to invest billions of pounds every year in order to remove greenhouse gasses and attain Net-Zero 2050. It has been estimated by economic analysts that it would take as much as £20bn every year to attain Net-Zero by 2050, or eliminate 130m tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Aside from the UK, other European nations also recognize the importance and urgency of taking out carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

The EU Commission published a series of expert recommendations on how to reduce carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in other to meet net-zero 2050. Major industries around the EU have developed a fair policy that is aimed at supporting the EU’s climatic ambitions.


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