Power plant. Author: Jonathan Kershaw. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic.
The UK will commit in law to cut emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels, the government announced on Tuesday.
The ambitious target is in line with the December recommendations of the Climate Change Committee for the country's sixth carbon budget covering the 2033-2037 period.
The new carbon budget is being laid in Parliament today and should be legislated by June 2021.
UK business and energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the sixth carbon budget will see the UK "go further and faster than any other major economy to achieve a completely carbon neutral future." It will put the country more than three-quarters of the way to achieving net zero by 2050.
Ahead of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow this year, the UK is urging countries to follow suit and set ambitious emissions reduction targets for 2030 to move towards net zero.
"We want to continue to raise the bar on tackling climate change, and that’s why we’re setting the most ambitious target to cut emissions in the world," said prime minister Boris Johnson.
"The UK will be home to pioneering businesses, new technologies and green innovation as we make progress to net zero emissions, laying the foundations for decades of economic growth in a way that creates thousands of jobs," he added.
Importantly, the new carbon budget will for the first time incorporate the UK's share of international aviation and shipping emissions.
The 2035 emissions goal comes close the UK's previous target to slash emissions by 80% on 1990 levels by mid-century.
The UK government has already committed to reduce emissions in 2030 by at least 68% through its latest Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Climate Agreement.
Industry body RenewableUK said the newly announced emissions objective "means ramping up renewables."
"It’s right for the UK to secure its position as a world leader on climate change by stepping up our emissions reduction target in the run-up to the UN summit in Glasgow this year," RenewableUK’s deputy chief executive Melanie Onn said and called for a specific commitment by the government to decarbonise the electricity sector by 100% by 2035, in line with the recommendations of the Climate Change Committee.