Climate change is fast becoming an unavoidable part of our daily lives. The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has reached a level not seen for over 3 million years. Ever more regular wildfires, heavy flooding and heatwaves foreshadow the devastation a destabilised climate could cause.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has laid out a pathway for emissions reductions which should limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C, the level estimated to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. This includes almost halving emissions by 2030, and reaching net zero by 2050. The ‘net’ means that the most difficult emission to eliminate, like farming or aviation, could be offset with carbon removal (via natural means or emerging technologies).
So how close are we to reaching the UK net zero targets?