What is being done about this by the government?
The government set up the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) to provide independent advice on building a low-carbon economy and preparing for climate change. But by June 2018, according to a CCC report, published in July 2019, the government had only fully delivered on one of the 25 policy recommendations they have been given by CCC, whilst no progress has been made at all on 10 of the recommendations.
According to the CCC report, the UK's greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by 40% since 1990. Emissions from energy generation are now 68% lower than in 1990 and in 2018, low-carbon energy accounted for 54% of the UK's energy generation. But whilst there are big improvements in some areas, in others, emissions are still growing. For example, emissions from aviation have more than doubled since 1990. In addition, a lot of the UK's reduction is simply because more and more goods consumed in the UK are made abroad - and the figures don't take account of this.
In many key areas like transport, buildings and agriculture and land use, progress is happening much more slowly than recommended by the CCC, or isn't happening at all. Targets are being missed. And the more targets that are missed now, the harder it will be to catch up. This is even more important now that the government's aim is to reach net zero Greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, rather than its initial target of an 80% reduction by 2050.
The thing is that all the tools we need are already there. The CCC is very clear on what's needed and it makes sense. But the government needs to have the courage to implement the changes needed. A recent YouGov survey found that 56% of Britons questioned would support moving to a zero-carbon economy by 2030. That should give whoever is in charge of our next government the courage to know that the public will support them.
So they need to invest heavily in renewables, help to make our homes more energy efficient, improve public transport, plant millions more trees and give greater protection to nature.
You will hear and read that the UK can't make much difference on our own, when giants like the USA, China and India continue to produce huge amounts of greenhouse gas. But if we don't start this somewhere - if somebody doesn't choose to take the lead - then the world will carry on using the rest of the world's inaction as an excuse for doing nothing. We can't let that happen.Read More: What can you do as a parent?