Over 100 MPs back net-zero emissions target

Support is growing in parliament for the UK to reach net-zero emissions before 2050 in order to satisfy its commitments under the Paris agreement.

More than 100 Members of Parliament and in excess of 50 peers have now signed a letter, which was originally sent to Prime Minister Theresa May in June by the Climate Coalition.

“A net zero emissions target, fully implemented, will cut energy bills by improving the efficiency of our homes and businesses, it will get rid of the exhaust pipe emissions that pollute the air we breathe, and it will help to bring about the restoration of our natural habitats so they become stores of carbon, from forests to peatlands,” the letter said.

“We can have a greener Britain with cleaner air – and by making a clean break from harmful emissions, we’ll be sending a signal to our friends and allies around the world that Britain is shouldering our responsibility and leading the fight against climate change.”

Economic benefits

The letter welcomed Energy Minister Claire Perry’s announcement in April that the UK Government would seek advice from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) as to how the country’s emission-reduction targets could be modified to meet the Paris goals.

“Given the existing advice from the CCC, the likely conclusion of the upcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, and that other countries have set net zero targets with dates between 2030 and 2050, including France, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and New Zealand, we believe this must be a target for zero greenhouse gases before 2050,” it said.

“Setting ourselves the goal of net zero emissions will put us at the forefront of the race for investment in clean industries, creating jobs all around the UK and inspiring the next generation.”

The letter calls for the target to be enshrined in law within the life of the current parliament.

Cross-party support

News of the 100-MP landmark being reached was highlighted in an opinion piece in The Times newsletter, written by Conservative MP Sir Bernard Jenkin and Labour MP Alex Sobel under the heading “Left or right, remain or leave — we are united in wanting a cleaner, greener future for our children”.

Other MPs who have signed the document include Mary Creagh, who chairs the House of Commons’ Environmental Audit Committee, Liberal Democrat

Leader Sir Vince Cable, and former Energy Secretary Sir Ed Davey.

Former Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband and ex-Green Party joint leader Caroline Lucas are also signatories.

> Read the joint letter and see which MPs have signed it