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June 12, 2019 - Britain is aiming to become the first G7 economy to reach “net zero” fossil-fuel pollution by 2050. The move comes after oil giant BP warned that global emissions rose by an “unsustainable” two percent in 2018.
Outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May said the plan will be put before Parliament on June 12. The amendment to the 2008 Climate Change Act will intensify Britain's push to drastically reduce carbon emissions.
Scientists say the world must stop pumping more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere no later than the middle of the century if it wants to stop average global temperatures from rising more than 1.5°C compared to pre-industrial times.
The ambitious goal, set in the 2015 Paris accord, is seen as the best chance of preventing potentially catastrophic effects of climate change, from sea level rise to increases in extreme weather.
While experts agree it won't be possible to eliminate all emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, "net zero" would ensure that an equal amount of gas would be captured by natural means such as forests or artificial systems that suck carbon out of the atmosphere.
May's announcement means Britain will likely leapfrog other major industrialized countries, such as France and Germany, which are working on similar legislation to be passed this year.
Smaller European countries, including the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden already have the "net zero'" target enshrined in domestic laws, some of which are more ambitious than the UK proposal.