Plans to decarbonise the UK by 2050 are “nowhere near ambitious enough”, a Labour MP has told the chairman of the committee that recommended the target.
At an event last week organised by public affairs company Field Consulting, Leeds MP Alex Sobel called for faster action to deal with emissions reduction than that recommended by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC).
In its advice to government on cutting emissions to net zero, which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says is required to keep average global temperature rises within 1.5 of pre-industrial levels, the CCC recommended the middle of the next century as the UK’s target date.
But Sobel, who is a member of the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs select committee, said 2050 is “nowhere near ambitious enough,” adding that the weaving industry had been transformed within ten to 15 years of the invention of the spinning jenny.
He said that the challenge of cutting emissions should be taken “head on” in the upcoming pan-government spending review, covering the period 2020-23, which is currently scheduled to take place during the autumn.
“If we don’t, we will be missing an opportunity and there aren’t any cycles left to miss.”
He also said that the government should throw the same kind of impetus behind efforts to tackle climate change that president JF Kennedy had to the US space programme in the 1960s.
As an example, he called for substantial state involvement in efforts to rollout hydrogen as a low carbon fuel source.
“These are the future industries that will provide millions of jobs in the years to come.”
CCC chairman Lord Deben, who was also on the panel, defended his body’s recommendation to set a 2050 target.
Noting the growing public support for efforts to cut emissions, he said it is important to maintain consensus on the issue.
“The parties of sanity are united in dealing with climate change and we have got to keep that unity.”
But the Conservative peer and former cabinet minister criticised his own party’s ongoing resistance to onshore windfarms.