Alex Chalk launches Bill mandating the UK reduce carbon emissions to net zero

Alex Chalk, Member of Parliament for Cheltenham, will be tabling a 10 Minute Rule Bill on the 30 April mandating that the UK reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Alex has today launched his Net Zero Bill with a video for social media (below) explaining his campaign and why it's important that we reach net zero.

Alex Chalk MP commented, "Our children have been striking, calling for change, and a net zero target would acknowledge how seriously we take their concerns, by committing the UK to doing our bit to halt climate change. 

“We were the first country in the world to set legally binding emission reduction targets in the Climate Change Act, and we should now update these targets to support the latest scientific evidence - that we need to reach net zero by 2050 if we are going to stop the planet from reaching devastating tipping points. 

“We need to acknowledge the risks of not acting, as well as the exceptional opportunities from growing clean British industries. We have led the G7 in reducing our emissions the fastest while growing our economy the most." 

In 2008, the UK passed the Climate Change Act committing the UK to reducing our emissions by 80 percent by 2050 (on 1990 levels). Last year the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a report which outlined why it is so important to limit warming to 1.5C.  The UK Government has since instructed their independent statutory adviser the Committee on Climate Change to look at this in more detail, and is expected to report back on 2 May on how the UK can reach net zero emissions.

Alex wants his Bill to commit the UK to reducing its greenhouse gases to net zero by 2050 which means any lingering emissions are balanced out by, for example, planting trees which suck carbon out of the atmosphere as they grow.

The 10 Minute Rule Bill has the support of key Conservative Backbenchers, including Simon Clarke MP who led 190 MPs to write to the Prime Minister calling for a net zero target. The MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland said "Over 190 of my colleagues in Westminster from all parties agree that we need to reach net zero before 2050, and this Bill will set this target in law. So I’m delighted to support Alex’s Bill.”

Zac Goldsmith, MP for Richmond Park and North Kingston, commented, “Climate change is the most important issue of our time, and this Bill from Alex acknowledges that we need to end our contribution to climate change as soon as possible, and has my complete support.”

Richard Benyon, MP for Newbury, also gave his support, stating, “We all rely on our environment for food, water and air - it’s not separate from us. Climate change threatens all of that, and if we hit two degrees then we will likely see irreversible changes impact our planet. Alex’s Bill is a vital step to end our contribution to climate change.”

Vicky Ford, MP for Chelmsford, said, “The science is clear, we must reach net zero or we will hit two degrees warming. Two degrees means more flooding and extreme weather events, more air pollution, and greater conflict for many regions of the world. We owe it to future generations to act, and so we must go net zero.”

Globally, bold action on climate change could deliver £20 trillion (US$26 trillion) in economic benefits through to 2030 (New Climate Economy). Kevin Hollinrake, MP for Thirsk and Malton, commented, “Net zero isn’t just about reacting to the seriousness of climate change, it’s also about embracing the amazing opportunities for clean growth for British jobs and industry. From offshore wind to hydrogen and carbon capture and storage, many areas of the country will be revitalised by this economic revolution as we go for net zero. I look forward to supporting Alex’s Bill in Westminster.”

Sarah Newton, MP for Truro and Falmouth, also supports the Bill, adding, “We have a record to be proud of when it comes to climate change, having decarbonised faster than any other leading economy. But our children have been striking and calling on us to do more, and net zero is how we should respond. So it’s great to see Alex’s Bill being introduced to Parliament.”