Could the UK become 'carbon neutral' in just 30 years?

Plans for the UK to become 'carbon' neutral by 2050 have been released by Theresa May's government, but experts are concerned over how the proposals will work.

The new report commits to ensuring that the emissions generated by the UK are offset by removing the same amount of carbon from the atmosphere.

There are two main ways this can be achieved - by planting more trees and by installing 'carbon capture' technology at the source of the pollution.

Some critics are worried that this first option will be used by the government to export it's carbon offsetting to other countries.

International carbon credits let nations continue emitting carbon while paying for trees to be planted elsewhere, balancing out their emissions.

Some experts argue that the scheme is a way for developed nations to shirk their environmental obligations, by passing them to poor and developing countries.

All in all, this leaves Mrs May's proposals looking more like a vanity project than an achievable goal for change. 

Plans for the UK to become 'carbon' neutral by 2050 have been released by Theresa May's government, but experts are concerned over how the proposals will work (file photo)

Plans for the UK to become 'carbon' neutral by 2050 have been released by Theresa May's government, but experts are concerned over how the proposals will work (file photo)

Chris Skidmore, the acting energy minister, has claimed the costs would amount to between one and two per cent of the UK's GDP - the same amount stated in 2008 to reach the previous 80 per cent reduction target

Chris Skidmore, the acting energy minister, has claimed the costs would amount to between one and two per cent of the UK's GDP - the same amount stated in 2008 to reach the previous 80 per cent reduction target

The UK is the first developed nation to commit to a 'net zero' pledge on carbon emissions.

The government says the move will also benefit people's health, as well as reducing air and noise pollution.

Not everyone is convinced of the benefits of the methods hinted at in the report, however, particular carbon offsetting.

Craig Bennett, UK chief executive of Friends of the Earth, said: 'It is disappointing that the Government has ignored its climate advisers' recommendation to exclude carbon offsets - as well as caving into Treasury pressure to review the target in five years' time.

'Fiddling the figures would put a huge dent in our ability to avoid catastrophic climate change - and the Government's credibility for taking this issue seriously. 

'Having declared a climate emergency, Parliament must act to close these loopholes.

'2050 is still too slow to address catastrophic climate change, the UK can and must go faster. 

'The next prime minister must legislate to end our contribution to climate breakdown earlier, put carbon-cutting at the centre of policy-making and pull the plug on plans for more roads, runways and fracking.

'It's now time to build the carbon-free future that science requires and the public are so loudly demanding.' 

Former Green Party leader Caroline Lucas added: 'It means that we would pay poorer countries to plant trees to reduce our emissions'.  

A statutory instrument will amend the government's existing goal to cut climate pollution by 80% by 2050, which was agreed by MPs under the Climate Change Act in 2008. This graphic shows current emissions by sector in 1991 compared to 2001

Some experts argue that offsetting carbon internationally is a way for developed nations to shirk their environmental obligations, by passing them to poor and developing countries. This graphic shows the UK's falling greenhouse gas emissions

Some experts argue that offsetting carbon internationally is a way for developed nations to shirk their environmental obligations, by passing them to poor and developing countries. This graphic shows the UK's falling greenhouse gas emissions

The plans involve offsetting or eliminating emissions from every aspect of modern life, including electricity generation, transport and heating. 

This would be achieved through measures like the adoption of electric vehicles, switching to renewable energy sources and getting rid of gas powered hobs and boilers.

There are currently no plans for how to reduce emissions from the aviation industry or industrial process like steel and cement production, which are harder to tackle.  

The carbon emitted from these kinds of processes would need to be offset by tree planting.

Reacting to Theresa May’s answer to Green MP Caroline Lucas at Prime Minister’s Questions, Green party co-leader Jonathan Bartley said: 'The Prime Minister’s claim that setting a legal target is "action" simply doesn’t stack up.

'As Caroline identified, there are steps Theresa May could take in her short remaining time as Prime Minister, cancelling Heathrow expansion, turning money earmarked for new roads to public transport and stopping fracking.'    

The new report commits to ensuring that the emissions generated by the UK are offset by removing the same amount of carbon from the atmosphere - by planting more trees and by installing 'carbon capture' technology at the source of the pollution (stock image)

The new report commits to ensuring that the emissions generated by the UK are offset by removing the same amount of carbon from the atmosphere - by planting more trees and by installing 'carbon capture' technology at the source of the

read more from dailymail.....

Get the latest news delivered to your inbox

Follow us on social media networks

PREV Technology Flying taxis could lift off in six years — here's how much it'll cost to ride ...
NEXT Technology Alibaba reportedly files for a Hong Kong listing that may raise $20 billion as ...