- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 25 Jan 2021
Net zero carbon 2050
On 12 June 2019 Prime Minister Theresa May announced the UK will ‘eradicate’ its net contribution to climate change by 2050. The statutory instrument to implement this policy was was laid in Parliament to amend the Climate Change Act 2008.
This legislation will mean the UK could become the first G7 country to legislate for net zero emissions, but the government has made clear it is imperative that other major economies follow suit. For this reason, the UK will conduct an assessment within 5 years to confirm that other countries are taking similar action.
Prime Minister Theresa May said: “Now is the time to go further and faster to safeguard the environment for our children. This country led the world in innovation during the Industrial Revolution, and now we must lead the world to a cleaner, greener form of growth. Standing by is not an option. Reaching net zero by 2050 is an ambitious target, but it is crucial that we achieve it to ensure we protect our planet for future generations.
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Greg Clark said: "Almost 400,000 people are already employed in the low-carbon sector and its supply chains across the country. Through our modern Industrial Strategy we’re investing in clean growth to ensure we reap the rewards and create two million high quality jobs by 2030... Low carbon technology and clean energy contribute £44.5 billion to our economy every year. We are ending the sale of new diesel and petrol cars and vans through our world-leading Road to Zero Strategy, and protecting biodiversity and promoting sustainability through our 25 Year Environment Plan.”
Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency said: “This is not only the right thing to tackle the climate emergency for future generations but a huge opportunity to increase our energy efficiency, improve our resilience and deliver a greener, healthier society. We know that investing in zero carbon solutions is good for growth - boosting jobs and the economy - and it is cheaper for business, organisations and government to tackle climate change now than to manage its impacts in the future. Ref https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-announcement-to-end-uks-contribution-to-climate-change
 Industry reaction
Peter Tse, Business Manager, Sustainable Construction Group, BSRIA said: “The task ahead is truly challenging given the UK is currently significantly behind the targets set out in both fourth and fifth carbon budgets. However, it is encouraging to see many businesses already leading the way, with strong commitments and swift progress and a new Net Zero Taskforce launched to support the private sector's transition to a net zero carbon future.”
Paul Reeve, Director of CSR at the ECA said: "No-one should expect the feat of resolving the UK’s carbon footprint for good to be anything other than both hugely challenging and costly. However, against this is the enormous cost of climate inaction and potentially, there are phenomenal opportunities for UK businesses and the economy."
Julie Hirigoyen, Chief Executive at UKGBC said: “We must accelerate action in all areas including improving the efficiency of our aging building stock, and overcoming the challenge of decarbonising heat. To do this, we need to see both policy and industry leadership to ensure the built environment is at the vanguard of emissions reductions. There is no time to lose, now is the time to act.”
Making Mission Possible - Delivering A Net-Zero Economy, published by the Energy Transitions Commission (ETC) in September 2020, defines net-zero-carbon-emissions / net-zero-carbon / net-zero as: ‘..the situation in which the energy and industrial system as a whole or a specific economic sector releases no CO2 emissions – either because it doesn’t produce any or because it captures the CO2 it produces to use or store. In this situation, the use of offsets from other sectors (“real net-zero”) should be extremely limited and used only to compensate for residual emissions from imperfect levels of carbon capture, unavoidable end-of-life emissions, or remaining emissions from the agriculture sector.’
The Energy White Paper, Powering our Net Zero Future (CP 337), published in December 2020 by HM Government, suggests net zero: ‘Refers to a point at which the amount of greenhouse gas being put into the atmosphere by human activity in the UK equals the amount of greenhouse gas that is being taken out of the atmosphere.’
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Architects Declare.
- A zero-carbon UK by 2050?
- BREEAM: The Next Generation.
- Building Back Better: Net zero carbon and BREEAM.
- Building back better with BREEAM.
- Carbon footprint.
- Carbon negative.
- Carbon neutral.
- CIBSE Case Study: Walgreens net zero energy drugstore.
- CIOB responds to Sixth Carbon Budget.
- Climate Change Act.
- COVID-19 and the global heat pump market.
- Energy White Paper presents Government plans to build back greener.
- Engineering services and industry recovery guide.
- Gas Goes Green.
- Generation nuclear.
- Get ready for green jobs and upgrade projects.
- Getting zero carbon done.
- Half of public sector bodies not planning for net zero carbon.
- Home design prospects under the Future Homes Standard.
- Infrastructure carbon reduction misses net-zero target.
- Low or zero carbon technologies.
- Making Mission Possible: report on achieving a zero-carbon economy by 2030.
- Nearly zero-energy building.
- Net Zero All Party Parliamentary Group NZ APPG.
- Net zero carbon building.
- Planning now for hydrogen.
- Planning the infrastructure transition to net-zero.
- Renovation Wave Strategy RWS.
- Skilled workforce unable to meet net zero ambitions.
- Skills for Climate consultation launched.
- State of the Nation 2020.
- The Government's 10-point plan: what's missing?
- Transform to Net Zero.
- US recommits to clean energy.
- What we need for the journey to net-zero carbon emissions.
- Zero Bills Home.
- Zero carbon homes.
- Zero carbon non domestic buildings.
Featured articles and news
Proper materials and maintenance can help reduce rust.
Is the construction sector responding to calls for ED&I?
Engineers pay tribute by sharing their memories.
The hidden price of infrastructure.
BREEAM incorporates wellbeing into its Building Back Better programme.
Administration signals policy changes on some building-related issues.
From inns and coaching houses to boutiques.
Survey reveals green skills gap.
America's economic collapse produced scores of PWA Moderne projects.
The benefits of glowing aggregates and cement.
Urgent need for open communication to address mental health issues.