In the lead up to the COP26 Climate Conference, the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change has written to the Prime Minister to welcome the Government’s sustained ambition for climate action in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly through the launch of the ‘Race to Zero’ programme.
The letter urged the government to announce an ambitious nationally determined contribution (NDC) as soon as possible, to encourage similarly strong action by other parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). By this, we mean that the UK’s NDC – it’s intended reduction in greenhouse gas emissions – must be:
- Consistent with the Paris Climate Agreement to limit the rise in global mean temperatures to 1.5°C, thereby mitigating the worst environmental and human health impacts of climate change;
- Consistent with the UK Government’s target to achieve net zero by 2050 at the latest;
- Achieved entirely through domestic action, without the use of international credits, and in a way that is fair and equitable, abiding by the UNFCCC principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.
Such an announcement would gain widespread support across the health sector, much of which is already leading the pack in decarbonising its activities. Several UKHACC members have plans to decarbonise, and last week NHS England announced its intention to become entirely carbon neutral by 2045.