Labour to commit to zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050

Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey (Anna Gowthorpe/PA) Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Labour is to commit itself to a net target of zero greenhouse gas emissions by the middle of this century.

Announcing the goal at the party’s annual conference in Liverpool, shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey will say that man-made climate change represents an “existential threat”.

The UK must do better than the Government’s current target of cutting emissions by 80% by 2050, she will say.

Ms Long Bailey will also set out recommendations to meet Labour’s commitment of generating 60% of energy from renewable and low carbon sources by 2030.

A report by energy experts consulted by Labour found that the 60% goal is feasible within 12 years while maintaining energy security and keeping the lights on.

Their recommendations include:

– Making every house in the UK energy efficient to reduce heat demand from buildings by almost one quarter

– Providing 85% of electricity demand from renewable and low carbon sources

– Providing 44% of heating demand from renewable sources

– A seven-fold increase in offshore wind and a doubling in onshore wind

– Almost tripling solar power

Taken together, these measures are expected to provide enough wind and solar power to power 19.5 million homes.

Ms Long Bailey said: “The potential benefits of transitioning to a sustainable economy are enormous and we want to make sure these are shared by everyone.

“Our transition to net zero emissions will involve working closely with energy unions to ensure that we tackle climate change in a way that delivers good jobs.

“It cannot be right that the few who are profiting from climate change are shifting the consequences onto the many, as working people suffer from polluted air in our inner cities and rising food prices due to unpredictable weather.

“The Tories are not up to the job of dealing with the existential threat posed by climate change. The Committee on Climate Change says the Government is ‘off track’ on tackling this issue and they’re on course to miss carbon reduction targets.”

Labour’s new target “lays down a challenge to this and future governments”, she said.