IEMA calls for zero-emission target to be underpinned by legislation

1st May 2019

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After the UK Committee on Climate Change set a new 'net-zero' greenhouse emissions target by 2050, the environment and sustainability body gave its response.

IEMA yesterday welcomed the advice of the Committee on Climate Change on setting a UK greenhouse emissions reduction target to address the scientific urgency of tackling climate change. It said in response to the announcement that government should take immediate steps to set the new target in legislation.

Commenting on the publication of the report, IEMA climate change policy lead Nick Blyth said: “Legislating for net-zero carbon emissions will be a powerful transition signal. If under-pinned by policies and milestones, it will give businesses the certainty and confidence to invest in the UK's zero-carbon future.“ Achieving net zero will require a strategic approach across government, ensuring alignment of policies to the long-term target to guide and support all sectors of the economy to make the necessary transition.

The forthcoming Environment Bill is an early opportunity to demonstrate this alignment and government's commitment. Martin Baxter, IEMA's chief policy advisor, commented: “Rapidly reducing UK carbon emissions and improving the natural environment, tackling air pollution and improving resource productivity are mutually supportive. The government must use the Environment Bill to support delivery of the net-zero carbon target and put sustainability at the heart of the UK's economic model.“ Commenting further on addressing the climate governance gap as the UK leaves the EU, Baxter said: “The new Office for Environmental Protection must be given the powers to enforce climate change laws, as well as environmental laws, to build public trust and give businesses the confidence to invest in a sustainable future.“ All parts of the economy and society will need to contribute to rapidly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Investing in skills and awareness-raising will be essential. Blyth said: “In supporting a binding net-zero target, IEMA believes there is a leadership and skills imperative. Innovation as a priority extends from the technical right through to leadership and collaborative skills. It is vital to equip companies and organisations with sustainability capabilities, in order to enable their rapid and successful transition“.

IEMA is working in the UK and internationally to support the sustainability profession to lead change for a low-carbon future. This includes:

  1. Leading and contributing to the development of global standards which support climate change mitigation, adaptation and sustainable finance though the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
  2. Supporting the development of Green Finance standards through BSI
  3. Providing advice on new UK Government legislation and guidance such as SECR, which extends mandatory carbon reporting to over 11,000 UK businesses.
  4. Training, guidance, professional networks and Continual Professional Development opportunities to enhance skills and capability across all sectors of the economy.

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