The UK announced Tuesday a new 2035 emissions reduction target of 78% on 1990 levels, making it the most ambitious climate target of a developed economy in the world ahead of the Leaders' Summit on Climate that will be hosted by US President Joe Biden.
Around 40 leaders from around the world will join the online summit that will be held on Earth Day, April 22 and 23.
The new UK target will require new policies to ensure it accelerates emission cuts in its power, heating, transport and farming sectors. The UK's new plan also includes aviation and shipping for the first time within the carbon budgets.
"We want to continue to raise the bar on tackling climate change, and that is why we are setting the most ambitious target to cut emissions in the world. 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," Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on his country's new emissions reduction target.
"We want to see world leaders follow our lead and match our ambition in the run-up to the crucial climate summit COP26 as we will only build back greener and protect our planet if we come together to take action," he said.
Before enshrining its net-zero commitment in law, the UK had a target of reducing emissions by 80% by 2050.
COP26 President-Designate Alok Sharma said in a statement that the UK sets a "gold standard" for ambitious Paris-aligned action and urged others to keep pace ahead of COP26 in Glasgow later this year.
"We must collectively keep 1.5 degrees of warming in reach and the next decade is the most critical period for us to change the perilous course we are currently on," he stated, adding that long-term targets need support from credible delivery plans.
Jess Ralston, an analyst at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, said the targets the UK set that show its future is green need to be backed by equally ambitious policy and sectoral plans for credibility.
"With the pressure now on internationally as well as at home, there is a real opportunity for the Treasury and the rest of government to move from setting targets to actually cutting carbon. For this, no doubt a rapid step-up in discussions on how to achieve plans will be a top priority," Ralston said.
By Nuran Erkul Kaya