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The UK must slash emissions by 75% this decade, says WWF

The UK must cut its global environmental footprint by 75% this decade, says WWF in a new report published today (July 5). 

The report estimates that the UK’s per capita greenhouse footprint is over six times the planetary limit and its per capita biomass consumption is nearly double the planetary limit. 

The authors have then compared what is required to stay within planetary limits, meaning the level of impact which, if crossed, could trigger irreversible changes. 

In order to achieve this, the report states the UK must set specific targets, these include: 

  • ensuring UK supply chains of agricultural and forest commodities are responsible for zero deforestation and conversion of ecosystems by 2023
  • reducing the footprint of the UK’s material consumption – the raw materials needed to satisfy the demand for all goods and commodities – by 40% by 2030
  • reducing the footprint of the UK’s biomass consumption – the consumption of agricultural products, animal products, and forestry products – by 50% by 2030
  • ensuring 100% of marine resources – animals and plants extracted from the marine environment – are from sustainable sources by 2030
  • ensuring all bodies of water in the UK achieve good ecological status and good chemical status by 2027

windmill on grass field during golden hour

Tanya Steele, chief executive at WWF, said: ‘The UK is one of the most nature depleted countries in the world, yet our environmental footprint extends far beyond these shores.

‘The things we buy and the foods we eat are fueling nature loss, including the destruction of precious habitats like the Amazon rainforest and the Cerrado – and current legislation does not go far enough to prevent this.

‘If the UK is to stand as a global green leader at the COP26 climate summit, we must pull our weight in addressing the planetary crisis and ensure all commitments meet the scale of the challenge. Adding a legally binding target to the Environment Bill to slash our environmental footprint at home and overseas by 2030 is an essential step, and this report provides a roadmap to deliver on that target once it’s in place.’

This report comes as members of the House of Lords are set to debate an amendment to the Environment Bill which would require the government to set a target to significantly reduce the UK’s global footprint. 

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