Despite choosing to exit the European Union through a referendum last week, the United Kingdom is still set to adopt a proposal for cutting fossil fuel-related pollution in the country by 2030 this week.
According to reports, Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) Secretary Amber Rudd is set to endorse a plan on how the UK government could reduce carbon emissions by as much as 57 percent below levels set in 1990 by the year 2032. The proposal is based on recommendations submitted by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) in November.
Experts believe adopting the proposal would help ease concerns that the country may abandon its climate change policies as it leaves the EU. The UK government is already trying to work out how it will be able to handle burdens on its own.
Nick Molho, an executive from an alliance of politicians, business leaders and nonprofit organizations known as Aldersgate Group, explained that one way for the government to manage the situation is by setting a budget immediately and adopting a detailed plan for reducing carbon emissions by the end of the year.
Molho said that these two factors are crucial if the government wants to increase investment from the private sector in low carbon-producing technologies as well as to keep the cost of investment at a minimal.
In its November report, the CCC said reducing carbon emissions in the UK by 57 percent is consistent with commitments the country made with other world governments. It would allow the UK to cut its total emissions by as much as 1.77 billion tons throughout the five-year period from 2028 to 2032.
Rudd is expected to make her decision on June 30 to adopt the carbon budget submitted by the CCC and provide an explanation on deviations from the panel's recommendations, if there are any. The British government would then have to create a plan on how it expects to hit the target by the end of the year.
Adopting the new target would help make sure that the UK is able to hit its long-term goal of cutting emissions by as much as 80 percent by 2050. The CCC considers this rate as an appropriate contribution to the international effort in order to prevent global temperatures from reaching 2 degrees Celsius.
Brexit's Impact On Climate Change Efforts
With the UK set to exit the EU, climate experts are concerned that it could have a significant impact on how the country will be able to hit its climate target by 2030 on its own.
In 2014, leaders of EU member states had agreed to reduce fossil fuel pollution by at least 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2030. EU regulators are now expected to set individual goals for the remaining members of the union in July.
European Commission climate spokeswoman Anna-Kaisa Itkonen said the UK will remain a full member of the EU until talks on its exit are completed.
Once the UK officially leaves, the union's remaining 27 member states will have to set their own individual climate targets. Climate experts believe these countries could increase their own targets to make up for the ones that will be lost with the UK's exit in order to maintain the 40 percent target they have set as a group.