What is the challenge?
Climate change is already bad, but it could get much worse.
We're warming the planet at a rate that will rob us of more wildlife, hit us with more extreme weather and plunge more people into poverty.
The UK gave birth to the Industrial Revolution. We now need it to lead a new, clean revolution.
Isn't the UK smashing climate change?
10 years ago the UK trail-blazed the world's first law to cut carbon emissions. Our supporters led an incredible campaign to make it happen.
We became one of the leading nations at cutting emissions. But in the past few years the government has got sloppy. It's now failing us on climate change; pursuing fracking, airport expansion, and road building, while withdrawing support for renewable energy.
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Net zero: what does it mean?
Being net zero or carbon neutral would mean removing as many emissions as we produce.
To get there, we need to produce much less pollution – meaning tougher emissions targets. But we also need to get better at removing climate-change gases from the atmosphere. That means changing the way we use land, including fewer factory-farmed animals in favour of more forests that absorb carbon.
5 things the government must do to make the UK carbon neutral
1. Phase out polluting cars by 2030
The government aims to end the sale of new petrol, and diesel, cars and vans by 2040. Even its own climate advisers say this is too late.
Going carbon neutral in time to stop runaway climate change depends on us phasing out these polluting vehicles asap. We also need better public transport, and safer cycling and walking routes, to encourage more people to leave the car at home.
2. Generate 8x more renewable electricity
Renewable energy can replace carbon-based fuels (coal, oil and gas) in our electricity, heating and transport.
Getting to that point means a massive push for more wind and solar power.
But the government is hindering these technologies: using planning rules to effectively block new onshore wind turbines – and making rooftop solar power unaffordable for most people.
3. Shift from natural gas in heating
Heating our homes with natural gas isn't viable in a net-zero future. So how do we completely decarbonise our heating?
A major shift to renewable electricity is one option. Another is to send carbon-free electricity through water to produce clean hydrogen gas – kickstarting a new industry in the process.
The government will need to provide householders with grants that cover the full cost of replacing their old boilers.
4. Double the area of forested land
We'll need lots more trees to absorb any carbon emissions left over – like from flying.
This means changing the way we use land. Too much of the UK is gobbled up by animal farming – including growing the crops to feed them. Eating less and better meat will reduce the demand on the land, and free up more space for forests.
5. Halve food waste by 2030
Another way of freeing up land for wildlife-rich forests is to stop wasting so much of what we grow.
Countries like Japan and South Korea recycle a lot of their food waste by feeding it to livestock like pigs – this means that less additional land is needed to grow feed for these animals. It's definitely something the UK should look into.
When can the UK be net zero?
The government could get us to net zero by 2045 or even earlier. Read our net-zero plan in full [PDF].
As well as doing our bit to stop runaway climate change, we would enjoy clean air, flourishing wildlife and thriving new industries.
The keys to success are more forests, clean road transport, and carbon-free heating and electricity.