The U.K. should set a zero greenhouse gas emissions goal by 2050 to end its contribution to global warming, the Committee on Climate Change, the non-departmental advisory body, said Thursday.
In Scotland, the committee recommends a net-zero date of 2045, "reflecting Scotland’s greater relative capacity to remove emissions than the U.K. as a whole."
In Wales, the recommendation was a 95% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050.
The recommended targets are "achievable with known technologies, alongside improvements in people's lives, and should be put into law as soon as possible," the committee said in its report.
The U.K. currently has a target of reducing its carbon emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.
The committee outlined some areas where improvements are necessary to reach a zero-emission economy in the next 30 years including, "a supply of low-carbon electricity, which will need to quadruple by 2050, constructing energy efficient buildings, establishing low-carbon heating and developing carbon capture and storage technology."
Additionally, electric vehicles need to be the only option from 2035 or earlier, biodegradable waste needs to stop going to landfill, potent fluorinated gases need to be phased-out, more trees need to be planted and measures to reduce emissions on farms need to be introduced.
The committee said the U.K. could achieve a net-zero greenhouse gas emission target by 2050 and at acceptable cost, contingent on "the introduction without delay of clear, stable and well-designed policies across the emitting sectors of the economy."
The report underlines the importance of the government's role, which needs to be swift and clear.
The public will also need to be engaged if the transition is to be successful, according to the report.
The overall costs of the transition to a net-zero economy are manageable but they must be fairly distributed, the committee said adding that the Treasury should review how the costs could be managed in a fair way for consumers and businesses.
The report comes after the U.K. parliament approved a motion to declare an environment and climate emergency on Wednesday. While the motion does not legally oblige the government to act, it was one of the key demands of environmental activist group Extinction Rebellion that ended protests on April 25.
By Zeynep Beyza Kilic