The headline figure of a 44% cut in the UK’s total emissions conceals a multitude of failures, with motor traffic and aviation high on the list
If the success of an event like Friday’s school strike can be measured, it is in the extent to which it changes the climate of opinion. Individuals, unions and other organisations that took part in the strike must play their part in reducing emissions. But when it comes to limiting global heating, governments have far more levers than anyone else. Global cooperation by politicians is essential to tackling the climate emergency. Since states are the world’s most powerful organisations, many of the solutions will inevitably be national.
In terms of their current and historic carbon emissions, and efforts to reduce them, there are huge differences between countries. There is no one-size-fits-all model of decarbonisation. In the UK, like everywhere else, progress is nowhere near fast enough. Carbon dioxide emissions have been falling for six years, and are at their lowest level since the reign of Queen Victoria. A law passed in June commits the government to reduce them to net zero by 2050, with any residual greenhouse gas pollution offset by emissions-reduction schemes.