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UK climate action

Information about how the United Kingdom has tackled climate change and key policies and plans

UK climate action

The United Kingdom demonstrated a good example of how climate action and economic growth can exist as the same time The UK's economy grew by 78% between 1990 and 2019, while emissions fell by 44%, the fastest decline in the G7.

National climate change action

  1. The UK has decarbonised (removed carbon) from the economy faster than any other country in the G20 since 2000.
  2. The Climate Change Act of 2008 establishes emission reduction targets that the UK must legally achieve - it is the first legally binding global climate change mitigation target set by a country. The Act committed the United Kingdom to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels. In 2019, the UK became the first major economy to commit to a ‘net zero’ target by 2050, making this goal even more ambitious.
  3. The UK is the largest producer of offshore wind energy in the world.
  4. The UK is doubling international climate finance to help developing nations with £11.6bn a year by 2025.
  5. The UK has announced the end of the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in the country by 2030, putting the UK on course to be the fastest G7 country to decarbonise cars and vans.
  6. The UK will spend at least £3bn of our international climate finance in the next five years on nature and nature-based solutions.
  7. The UK is planting trees on 30,000 hectares of land per year by 2025.
  8.  UK Prime Minister stated in October 2021 that 100% of the country's electricity will come from clean sources – renewable energy sources - by 2035. The shift to renewable energy is part of the government's target of decreasing carbon emissions by 78% by 2035.
  9. The UK has an ambition to have up to 2 million green jobs by 2030.

UK targets

The UK was one of the first major economies to commit to reaching net zero by 2050. In addition to this, the UK has a number of interim targets to ensure it meets its net zero target:

  • 68% reduction in emissions by 2030.
  • 78% reduction in emissions by 2035.

You can read more about the UK’s targets here:

Other significant initiatives adopted by the UK include:

  • The Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy, an ambitious blueprint for the world's first low-carbon industrial sector that would cut emissions by two-thirds in 15 years, as well as over £1 billion in government funding to reduce emissions from industry, schools, and hospitals. 
  • North Sea Transition Deal, a landmark agreement to support the oil and gas industry’s transition to clean, green energy while supporting 40,000 jobs and the UK is the first G7 country to sign it. The industry has agreed to cut emissions by half by 2030, and the government, industry, and trade unions will collaborate over the next decade and beyond to provide the skills, innovation, and new infrastructure needed to decarbonize North Sea production.  
  • The Ten Point Plan, the UK government has set a target of £12 billion in government investment and potentially three times that amount in private sector investment to create and support up to 250,000 green jobs. Electric vehicle technicians will be needed in the Midlands, construction and installation workers in the Northeast and Wales, advanced fuel specialists in the Northwest, agroforestry practitioners in Scotland, and grid system installers everywhere. And, through the Lifetime Skills Guarantee, the government intends to assist people in training for these new green jobs. The ten focused goals under this plan are: