Raising the bar: world-leading commitments the UK should make for COP26

The Paris Agreement set a clear objective to limit global warming to 1.5C, which will require achieving net zero emissions by mid-century. The UK has one of the strongest records on decarbonisation in the world and we led the world in enshrining this in a binding 2050 net zero target. With our focus at COP26 on encouraging the world to commit to short-term 2030 targets for energy decarbonisation, we must also look to ensure there are no gaps in the UK's ambitions. 

With the focus of this year’s COP26 on delivery, advocates for climate action have called for five actionable short-term targets for 2030. We published the ‘Raising the Bar’ report to outline our key recommendations of commitments the UK should make ahead of COP26. 

1. A new target of 30GW onshore wind by 2030

We should ‘lead by example’ on onshore wind and encourage other countries to establish a target for development by setting our own. Even with the increasing success of offshore wind, the majority of wind installations across the world are onshore and are expected to continue to be so in the 2030s. In setting a short-term target, we could establish a supply chain development strategy for the sector, ensuring we maximise the manifold industrial and societal benefits of doing so.

2. A 2030 green hydrogen target of at lest 5GW 

This will demonstrate our commitment to the only truly zero emissions form of hydrogen production, and facilitate a strong domestic demand which will support the development of the UK’s industrial base in the sector.

3. Double our floating offshore wind ambition to 2GW by 2030

We could increase our ambitions on floating wind development to 2GW by 2030. This would accelerate cost reduction in the sector and its economic footprint through increased investor and supply chain confidence. This will demonstrate our commitment to the only truly zero emissions form of hydrogen production, and facilitate a strong domestic demand which will support the development of the UK’s industrial base in the sector.

4. Lead the transformation of marine energy with a 1GW target

By 1GW of development, industry analysis suggests these technologies will become cost competitive, so in setting this target and enabling policy, the UK will demonstrate its intention to make marine energy a cost-effective new avenue for decarbonisation in countries like Indonesia, the Philippines and Australia.

5. A Just Transition Strategy to support levelling-up and ensure no one is left behind 

The transition to a net-zero economy will create new opportunities and bring new investment to communities. We need to ensure, and show clearly to the world, that people and communities are able to fully take advantage of these opportunities, and that individuals and localities can be supported through the transition away from fossil fuels.

A Government strategy, bringing together our existing initiatives with new Government funding, and building on investment by industry, would ensure that no individuals or communities across the UK are excluded from the transition. Importantly, it would give the world confidence that measures can be put in place to ensure a ‘Just Transition’.