Welcome to the Earth.Org Global Sustainability Index, where Earth.Org examines the policies and actions regarding the environment of every nation on earth. Combining the most respected global indexes on pollution, climate change, policy, energy, oceans, biodiversity we have produced an overall Global Index, which will be updated annually. This is the Global Sustainability Index scorecard for the United Kingdom.
In the 12 years since the passing of the Climate Change Act, greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by 28% and it has provided the foundation for the coordination and advancement of climate action in the UK, including a target of phasing out coal-fired power plants by 2023. This Act was updated in 2019 to include a net-zero 2050 emissions target, with the UK becoming the first major economy in the world to put such a target in law.
The UK has shown great willingness to act meaningfully towards the mitigation of the climate crisis. If it meets its ambitious targets, it will set an example for the rest of the developed world that decarbonisation is possible without having to sacrifice economic performance.
- The government plans to place a ban on selling new petrol, diesel or hybrid vehicles in the UK by 2035, brought forward from 2040.
- Formerly part of the EU, the UK’s Paris Agreement target includes an emissions reduction target of 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, however it is unknown what its targets will be after the transition period after leaving the EU will end in December 2020. Those sectors not covered by the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) are required to reduce emissions by 37% below 2005 levels by 2030.
- Specific GHG emission reduction targets for 2020, 2025 and 2030 as recommended by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) are as follows: by 2020, a 37% reduction below 1990 levels, by 2025, a 51% reduction below 1990 levels and by 2030, a 57% reduction below 1990 levels.
- In June 2019, the UK adopted a 2050 net zero emissions reduction target, revising its previous goal of at least an 80% GHG reduction below 1990 levels. The CCC recommended that Scotland achieve net zero by 2045 and that Wales achieve a 95% reduction below 1990 levels by 2050, reflecting their individual circumstances.
- In May 2019, its Parliament declared a ‘climate change emergency’, however this does not legally compel the government to act.
You might also like: Global Emissions (2016)
- Biodiversity, Policy: Sachs, J., Schmidt-Traub, G., Kroll, C., Lafortune, G., Fuller, G. (2019): Sustainable Development Report 2019. New York: Bertelsmann Stiftung and Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).
- Oceans: Halpern, Benjamin S., et al. “An index to assess the health and benefits of the global ocean.” Nature 488.7413 (2012): 615-620.
- Pollution: Wendling, Z. A., Emerson, J. W., Esty, D. C., Levy, M. A., de Sherbinin, A., et al. (2018). 2018 Environmental Performance Index. New Haven, CT: Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy. https://epi.yale.edu/
- Climate Change: Climate Change Performance Index; Jan Burck, Ursula Hagen, Niklas Höhne, Leonardo Nascimento, Christoph Bals, ISBN 978-3-943704-75-4, 2019
- Energy: Enerdata –World Energy Statistics – Yearbook.
World Energy Statistics