A climate business expert has said that the UK could achieve its net zero goals in the 2040s. Outgoing UK president of Cop26, Nigel Topping, said that the world could hit its net zero ambitions for greenhouse gas emissions before its original goal of 2050. He believes this would be possible if the government made strong and ambitious policy targets and set more challenging goals.
Nigel Topping was the high-level champion for Britain's presidency of the summit and passed his role to Mahmoud Mohieldin from Egypt last year at Sharm-el-Sheikh's COP27 summit.
During his time in the role, he built alliances to encourage business leaders to set highly ambitious net zero emission goals for their organisations, with defined delivery plans. As a result, over 8,300 global firms are now part of the Race to Zero UN initiative, together with 3,000 other public bodies and cities.
Topping said that this experience in working with businesses to escalate the race to net zero at a commercial level was highly positive and showed how governments could speed up their processes towards a net-zero economy without harming their economies, competitiveness or business landscape.
He talked about the 'moonshot analogy', saying that governments could become much bolder in choosing stretch targets and backing their engineers, scientists, cities, banks and businesses to devise fresh solutions.
The Climate Change Committee in the UK has produced a scenario for the UK to hit net zero as soon as 2042, with Germany and California now saying that their target is 2045. He added that there was a real urgency to progress now, with so much extreme weather and ongoing blockers such as fossil fuel companies (which made record profits in 2022) and the protracted war in Ukraine.