route zero

The UK carbon budgets explained

Following its introduction in 2008, carbon budgets have been used to cap the total greenhouse gas emissions. These five-year statutory caps were put in place to ensure the UK does not exceed its emissions reduction commitments and stays on track towards net zero.

As climate change worsens, causing countries around the world to experience severe weather abnormalities, it is vital that we mitigate harmful practices. This is why it is so important to stay within carbon budget limits.

We take a look at the UK’s carbon budget and science-based targets and how they are becoming increasingly important, as the UK transitions to a net zero economy.

The UK’s carbon budget

The UK is set to breach its fifth carbon budget by at least 313Mt of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO₂e), according to research by Green Alliance. This could knock us off course for meeting the sixth carbon budget, which recommends a reduction of 78% by 2035. This is a crucial reduction in order to halve global emissions and stay within the 1.5°C warming limit.

The good news is that we currently have the resources to stay within these carbon budgets. Now it is up to every community, business and individual to join in and make a difference. This means making emissions reduction goals realistic, adaptable and transparent – a clear case for setting science-based targets.

Earlier this year, the government announced that it would be setting the world’s most ambitious climate challenge target. With emissions reductions of 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels, these aims will be part of the sixth carbon budget.

Science-based targets

Much like carbon budgets for the UK as a whole, science-based targets provide a clear and comprehensive pathway for companies to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This is crucial for preventing the worst impacts of climate change, offering businesses a clear advantage in a carbon-conscious future.

To reach net-zero emissions by no later than 2050, we must halve global GHG emissions by 2030. Achieving these targets will be imperative for remaining within the 1.5°C pathway, as set out in the Paris Agreement. Surpassing this could result in climate catastrophe, making the weather events that are wreaking havoc around the world more frequent and extreme. Now more than ever, it is vital for companies to become familiar with science-based targets.

How can EIC help?

Deciding which changes to make to adapt to the changing climate can be overwhelming. With a number of different options, it is important that you make the right decision for your business.

At EIC, we prioritise sustainability. We can assist you to create a realistic and actionable Carbon Management Plan that can also incorporate net zero goals. We are already partnering with leading UK private and public sector organisations – supporting them in the transition to a net zero future.

Get in touch today to hear more about how EIC can help you to reach your sustainability targets.

We're waiting to help you on your route to net zero

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