UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to announce steeper cuts to the nation's carbon emissions as he prepares to host the Cop26 international climate change summit later this year.
He will commit to cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 compared with 1990 levels, according to reports in the Financial Times.
The paper, quoting sources who had been briefed on the plan, said an announcement would be made ahead of a major US summit on Thursday where President Joe Biden is expected to set out a new US target for reducing emissions.
It would be a major step forward on the current UK commitment to cut emissions by 68% by 2030 – already seen as one of the most ambitious plans among developed nations and would be in line with the recommendations of the Climate Change Committee.
In its report the committee said that it would effectively bring forward by 15 years the UK’s commitment to get to an 80% reduction. But it would need more electric vehicles, an extension of offshore wind power generation, a reduction in meat and dairy consumption and the planting of new woodland for to be achieved.
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The reported move comes at a time when the Government is anxious to give a clear lead on climate change in the run-up to the Cop26 talks in Glasgow in November.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said that ministers would be making an announcement “shortly”.
A spokeswoman said: “We will set our ambition for carbon budget six shortly, taking into account the latest advice from the Climate Change Committee.”
For Labour, shadow business secretary Ed Miliband said the Government had repeatedly failed to match ambitious promises on emissions with effective action on the ground.
“While any strengthening of our targets is the right thing to do, the Government can’t be trusted to match rhetoric with reality,” he said.