2050: year zero?

Climate change

Harmful greenhouse gas emissions are set to be cut to almost zero in the UK by 2050, according the terms of a new government climate change plan. Exciting news or too little too late?

Today is a big day in the battle to stop climate change!

The outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May has announced a new legally-binding ‘net zero target’ to be reached by 2050. This means that we'll be cutting greenhouse gas emissions across all parts of society with the aim of reaching zero net emissions by 2050 at the latest. These changes will have an impact on all parts of society, from how our homes are heated to how our food is produced and how we all travel. 

It’s a commitment not just to limit the worst effects of climate change but also to build a safer and more prosperous future. A future with cleaner air, cheaper and cleaner energy and one where the incomes, health and education for people living in poverty are all improved. 
Global influencing
'Reaching net zero is vital to end the UK's future contribution to climate change,’ says Dr Ruth Valerio, Tearfund’s Director of Global Advocacy and Influencing. ‘And it’s also vital to inspire other nations to do the same. We promised back in 2015 under the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5ºC. It's essential we all deliver on these commitments.’

The sooner we achieve that target, the sooner we can all look forward to a cleaner and more prosperous future.

The best way we can influence other countries is by being ambitious as a nation, in our targets and actions. With all of us acting together we hope to be on track to limit the rise in temperature to 1.5 ºC. It’s crucial for all those living in poverty around the world – men and women who are already facing the catastrophic impacts of climate change in their lives today.

Aim higher
Whilst today’s announcement is ambitious, at Tearfund, we believe the UK can go even further and faster – reaching net zero well before 2050. As the government turns this pledge into action, the costs of renewable energy, and other relevant technologies needed to make this change possible, will fall, as they improve and become widely used. 

We should be bold in our ambitions and be clear that 2050 is the latest possible date – the sooner we achieve that target, the sooner we can all look forward to a cleaner and more prosperous future. 


Father God,
Thank you for today’s announcement. We understand that we are stewards of our planet, and with this stewardship comes great responsibility. May we continue to pursue an attitude of care and preservation for all you have created. May we lay down our selfishness and greed and put others’ needs above our own. We pray that this plan will become law, and that our leaders will be bold in their actions as well as their words.
In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Jack Wakefield

Jack works in our Tearfund Action team and feels most at home walking in the countryside, he is also a pretty big fan of ice – cream.