Press releases

UK announces new 2030 climate target ahead of Climate Ambition Summit

Flag of the United Kingdom waving in the wind
Flag of the United Kingdom waving in the wind against blue sky.

The UK Government confirmed it will announce an enhanced Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the Paris Agreement on Friday, 4 December.

The new target, a critical element of the UK’s COP26 Presidency, means the UK will need to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 68 per cent by 2030 compared with 1990 levels.

All countries under the Paris Agreement are required to submit new NDCs in 2020, ahead of next year’s UN climate summit in Glasgow.

On 12th December, the UK is hosting a virtual Climate Ambition Summit where world leaders are expected to announce new climate targets. There will also be further commitments on net zero, climate finance and adaptation.


Nick Mabey, CEO of E3G said:

On the UK’s target:

“While there is room for more ambition, the UK’s higher climate target puts pressure on the rest of the world to rise to the climate challenge ahead of the 12th December Climate Ambition Summit. The UK has seized the opportunity to set an unmistakable direction of travel, hopefully inspiring other countries to set ambitious climate targets to close the 1.5C gap.”

On the EU-UK relationship:

“The EU will be in the spotlight next week when leaders debate a 55% climate target. Failing where the UK has succeeded would be hugely embarrassing internationally, and a significant setback to the EU’s aspirations for its Green Deal. As a neighbouring country facing similar challenges with the net zero transition, the UK’s commitment should give EU leaders a boost of confidence to adopt the 55% target without hesitation.”

On the US-UK relationship:

“The UK’s new climate target clearly considered incoming US President Biden. With the US returning to the Paris Agreement, the UK’s target lays climate as the foundation for rebuilding the special relationship. The US is due to set its own NDC in 2021 and this marker from the UK sets a high bar for the White House.”

Alex Scott, Senior Policy Advisor, said:

On climate leaders:

“By setting a strong 2030 target in line with the 2050 net zero pledge, the UK is getting serious about long term climate targets. Countries like China, Japan and South Korea, all of which set net zero targets like the UK this year, are now expected to bring their own ambitious 2030 targets forward. There’s no excuse for showing up empty handed at COP26.”

On climate laggards:

“Those who have shied away from climate action, such as Australia, Brazil and Russia, now have nowhere to hide. It’s time for these countries to realise the game is up and set stretching climate targets of their own – or risk being left behind in a global race to dominate the net zero markets of the future.”

Tom Evans, Researcher, said:

On the need for the UK to do more:

“This new target is a good first step. But a lot of hard work lies ahead. The UK isn’t on track to meet existing climate targets, let alone a tougher one. A comprehensive fully financed net zero strategy to deliver emissions reductions is needed soon if the UK is to have any hope of meeting this target.”

“In recognition of its greater historical contribution, the UK should do more to tackle climate change overseas too. A commitment to end overseas fossil fuel finance at the 12th December Summit would be a game-changer.”


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