British Home Secretary Braverman says the country needs to take a pragmatic approach to reach net zero carbon emissions, stressing that London cannot address climate change by imposing excessive financial burden on its citizens.
Braverman made the remarks in an interview with Times Radio on Wednesday, ahead of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s speech this week where he is expected to delay some of the government policies which underpin Britain's long-term plan to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
"We have to adopt a pragmatic approach, a proportionate approach, and one that also serves our goals, and we're not going to save the planet by bankrupting the British people," she said.
Back in 2019, Britain pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. However, Sunak’s government has recently appeared to waver on some of the measures needed to hit that target as the cost of decarburizing everything from travel to the heating of homes has crystallized during a prolonged cost-of-living crisis.
Sunak sees scaling back some green policies as a way to win over swing voters in the upcoming elections. That would be a striking reversal for Britain which until recently was a self-proclaimed leader in climate policy.
Sunak released a statement late on Tuesday saying Britain needed to move towards its net zero goals in a "more proportionate way" and that he would set out an "important long-term decision" this week.
A UN climate report released this month named 2025 as the deadline for global greenhouse gas emissions to peak -- followed by a sharp drop thereafter -- if humanity is to cap global warming in line with Paris Agreement targets.
The 2015 Paris Treaty has successfully driven climate action, but "much more is needed now on all fronts," said the report, which will underpin a crucial climate summit in Dubai at the end of the year.
Achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 -- another Paris goal -- will also require phasing out the burning of all fossil fuels whose emissions cannot be captured or compensated.