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The United Kingdom

The United Kingdom: Short Way to Go

On 12 December 2020, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland submitted their first NDC to the UNFCCC. In this, the UK commits to reduce economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions by at least 68% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. The UK mitigation target represents an ambition enhancement from its 2015 commitment as part of the EU NDC of at least 40% by 2030 (where the UK contribution implied by effort sharing is a reduction of 53% from 1990 levels).

The NDC is complemented by two further submissions to the UNFCCC. The Adaptation Communication sets out the UK’s domestic and international ambition and action on adaptation and resilience, and the Finance Biennial Communication outlines the UK’s climate finance commitments to developing countries. The main gaps in the UK’s overall NDC relate to the lack of a structured consultation process with key stakeholders and the non-inclusion of aviation and shipping in the emissions reduction target despite recommendations from the Climate Change Committee.

Taking into account that the UK has large historical responsibility for the carbon already in the atmosphere and more capability than most countries to do something about the problem, our analysis considers that the UK NDC has a short way to go to become the NDC We Want.