Wales to pass law to reduce GHG emissions by at least 80% by 2050

Ilario D'Amato
12 May 2015

LONDON: Wales in the UK, which is part of The Climate Group States & Regions Alliance, will soon implement a law to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by ‘at least’ 80% by 2050. The country had already set a target of reducing all emissions by 40% from 1990 levels by 2020.

The new bold goal set by the Welsh Government is part of the Environment (Wales) Bill, aimed to improve a better management of Wales’ resources. The Bill also sets further interim emission targets and carbon budgets to be set in the subsequent years - and is set to be converted in law by Spring 2016.

“I'm pleased to announce the introduction of the Environment (Wales) Bill to the National Assembly of Wales,” says Carl Sargeant, Welsh Government Minister for Natural Resources. “It’s a major step forward; a stronger and legally-binding framework for climate action in Wales, as well as a statutory approach for enhancing the resilience of our natural resources, will help to drive our transition to a low carbon economy by creating new opportunities for green growth while tackling directly the major environmental challenges we face.

I look forward to continuing our work with The Climate Group through the States and Regions Alliance to identify new opportunities for action and good practice as we look ahead to the Paris COP21 summit.”

Clear low carbon direction

“The Welsh Government is on the right path in setting ambitious climate targets in line with climate science,” says Libby Ferguson, States and Regions Director, The Climate Group, “developing legislation to ensure that sustainability is factored in across all areas of government and through actively pursuing low carbon growth and development.

“The new Bill clearly shows how sub-national governments can achieve bold results to protect their citizens from the worst effects of climate change, while enhancing the economic opportunities of a low carbon pathway. International collaboration is key to shape good policies, and as member of The Climate Group States & Regions Alliance, Wales is part of a network of global state and regional government climate leaders developing a prosperous, low carbon future for their citizens and businesses.”

Video: Environment (Wales) Bill, courtesy of the Welsh Government

The Bill gives new power to the government to further push recycling, a sector where Wales leads the UK. This year, the Welsh government also approved a pioneering law looking at the Well-being of Future Generations. The new law also builds on that, requiring Natural Resources Wales to publish regular analysis on the country’s natural resources and ability to respond to climate change.

Under the new Bill, the Welsh Government will also need to produce a national policy to clarify priorities and opportunities of managing Wales’s natural resources with particular attention on sustainability. Valued at approximately £8 billion (US$12.5 billion), the country’s environment is also a strong asset to the domestic economy.

The bill is just another step for Wales in the direction of a sustainable, low carbon economy. In the country, the percentage of electricity generation from renewables has increased from 3.5% in 2005 to 10.1% in 2013. In 2016, the government estimates renewables could account for over 15% of the total electricity generation - almost 30% of the total electricity consumption.

The refocus on future generations is also highlighted by Wales’s flagship eco-schools program, adopted by over 90% of schools and over 430,000 students in the country. This program aims to ensure all students learn about energy, water, transport, waste minimization, biodiversity, healthy living, litter and global citizenship.

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