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UK’s Progress in Tackling Climate Change

UK’s Progress in Tackling Climate Change

Climate Change Accountability: A Global Progress Report

Annually, nations commit to diminishing their greenhouse gas outputs, aiming to mitigate climate change’s severe effects. Despite these efforts, the global temperature trajectory remains alarming. Scientists predict a potential exceedance of the critical 1.5°C increase within the next five years, escalating the risk of catastrophic heatwaves, wildfires, and floods [1].

Understanding the 1.5°C Benchmark and the Paris Agreement

The Paris Agreement set an ambitious global target to cap temperature rise below 1.5 degrees [2]. Utilise the interactive chart below to discern which countries are aligning their emissions reduction with this goal. The chart delineates the expected reduction trajectory for each nation, tailored to their economic status and technological capacity. Yet, these projections overlook the historical emissions that have significantly contributed to the present crisis [4].

The Industrial Legacy and Climate Justice

The UK, among other developed nations, initiated industrial activities in the mid-19th century, primarily powered by fossil fuels. This head start in industrialisation led to substantial greenhouse emissions and financial gains. Consequently, developing nations advocate for a more aggressive emissions reduction from these countries, aligning with the principle of climate justice. [4]

The ‘Fair Share’ Approach

The concept of ‘fair share’ in emissions reduction offers an alternative perspective, incorporating the historical context of each country’s contributions to climate change. While there’s no global consensus on what constitutes a fair share, the 2015 Paris Agreement acknowledges the collective yet varied responsibilities of nations in addressing climate change. [3]

Drawing on over 40 studies from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Climate Action Tracker has developed ‘fair share’ pathways to guide countries towards the Paris goal. These pathways, depicted in the chart, underscore the divergent responsibilities and capabilities among nations. [1]

Sources: 

  1. IPCC (2018). Summary for Policymakers — Global Warming of 1.5 oC. [online] IPCC. Available at: https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/chapter/spm/.
  2. Unfccc.int. (2023). The Paris Agreement. [online] Available at: https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement#:~:text=Its%20overarching%20goal%20is%20to.
  3. climateactiontracker.org. (n.d.). Fair share. [online] Available at: https://climateactiontracker.org/methodology/cat-rating-methodology/fair-share/.
  4. Climate change: How is my country doing on tackling it? (2023). BBC News. [online] 4 Jun. Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-65754296.