Addressing the net-zero challenge

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Addressing the net-zero challenge

The UK has made a clear commitment to reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, but reaching this goal will be a challenge.

In 2019 the UK became the first major economy to announce a legal obligation to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. The plan represented a clear commitment by the Government to directly address the challenges associated with climate change. The plan included several required measures to ensure the UK continued to work towards reaching net zero.

With the UK currently standing in 36th position in terms of emissions per capita and 17th overall in the world, there is a lot of work that needs to be done to reach this goal. Decarbonising the economy is a process that will impact and require significant changes across every sector and industry. Professor Charlie Donovan, the executive director of the Centre for Climate Finance and Investment at Imperial College Business School explains that considerable changes need to be made as of now to realistically work towards reaching net zero.

The core challenge is that reaching these targets requires a connected approach that encompasses all sectors and industries across the nation. These targets will require major enhancements to existing infrastructure and utilising innovative technology to create new systems. Professor Donovan highlights the major challenge lies with policymakers and how they measure the cost of climate change and implement the necessary measures for all sectors.

Another major challenge associated with infrastructure is that it is predominantly reliant on fixed assets and any improvements to existing structures need to consider the impacts this will have on the national economy. New infrastructure needs to be capable of driving innovation and emerging industries, as well as have wider support from the government.

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