Greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, despite promises by industrialised countries to make cuts. Millions of dollars are paid in fossil fuel subsidies every year. Industrialised countries are responsible for most of these emissions and, based upon principles of justice, it should be incumbent on them to make the larger cuts. We strongly believe those who have created the mess must now help to clear it up.
EU leaders in 2007 endorsed proposals to cut CO2 emissions by at least 20% by 2020 (30% if global targets can be agreed on) and to set a binding 20% target for the use of renewable energy sources. The UK Government has also introduced a Climate Change Bill which currently includes the longer term target of a 60% reduction by 2050 and excludes the emissions from aviation and shipping. The government has announced that these will undergo a review process. It is essential the bill is strong enough if it is to achieve any meaningful outcome for the world’s poor.
However, these cuts are simply not enough to make a difference. These targets, if adopted by other industrialised countries, are not strong enough to prevent dangerous climate change. The time for half-hearted measures has passed. We now need to see stringent mitigation policies and action from countries with historically high emissions. Without a commitment for global warming to be kept within a 1.5°C temperature rise and for global emissions to come down by at least 80% over the next four decades, not only will we fail to meet the MDGs but we will see those who have contributed least continue to suffer the most.
We would like to see the UK government taking a lead on the international stage and implementing strict policies to ensure that the UK reduces its own emissions by 80% by 2050.