There’s no speed cameras on the road to net zero, let’s go as fast as possible – response to Committee on Climate Change

1st May 2019

**Friends of the Earth spokespeople available** 

A fifty-fifty chance of exceeding 1.5 degrees is “worse odds than Russian roulette” and we must reach net zero emissions faster to avoid the worst effects of climate chaos says Friends of the Earth in response to advice from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) on the UK’s emissions targets published today (Thursday 2 May).  

Faced with the scale of the climate crisis, Friends of the Earth welcomes the report but says that the UK can and should go faster than the net zero greenhouse gas target of 2050 that the CCC recommends. The green group has outlined plans to meet net zero by 2045 at the very latest, but believes with determination, innovation and endeavour, faster is possible. 

The CCC report, which looks at all greenhouse gases, recommends a UK carbon budget which takes account of the UK’s historical contribution to climate change as well as our position as a wealthy nation. If other countries also do their fair share of emissions cuts this would give roughly a 50% chance of avoiding 1.5 degrees of warming. Breaching 1.5 degrees of warming would sound the death knell for 90 per cent of coral reefs across the globe. It would expose tens of millions of people to droughts, floods and wildfires. And, it could set in chain an unstoppable melting of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets which would lead to a multi-metre sea level rise.  

Aaron Kiely, climate campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: 

“The world’s scientists have told us that every additional half-degree of warming really matters. A target that slashes the UK’s emissions, and therefore our overall contribution to climate change, is desperately needed.  

“While this is a massive body of important and credible work, it needs to inject more urgency. A roughly fifty-fifty chance of exceeding 1.5 degrees is worse odds than Russian roulette. Every government across the globe should be aiming to get to net zero as soon as possible. 

“By ramping up some measures, for example by aiming to double tree cover rather than a slight increase, the UK could get to net zero sooner. The Committee are saying that net zero is possible by 2050 but that doesn’t mean we should accept this as the height of ambition. There are no speed cameras on the road to net zero, we can and must go faster.” 

Friends of the Earth is focused on solutions laid out in a Climate Action Plan that the government should implement to achieve net zero emissions by 2045 at the latest. It covers transport, buildings, green jobs, and the UK’s contribution to helping vulnerable countries, as well as aiming for 100% clean energy and stopping airport expansion. 


For further information please contact the Friends of the Earth press office on 020 7566 1649/ 07718 394786 (out of hours – please do not text this number) or by emailing  

Editor’s notes:  

1. Friends of the Earth is an international community dedicated to the protection of the natural world and the wellbeing of everyone in it. We bring together more than two million people in 75 countries, combining people power all over the world to transform local actions into global impact. For more information visit: follow us at @friends_earth, or like our Facebook page.