Environment

This map shows which UK cities are most ambitious on climate change

The UK already has a net zero target for 2050 - but some local areas have set even more ambitious emissions targets.

Some areas of the UK have set more ambitious emissions targets than the government. Photo: Håkan Dahlström Photography

While climate change is a problem of global scale, its impact will be felt locally – whether that’s flooding, less arable land, or changes to the economy in the place you live. 

The UK government has already set a target of reaching net zero emissions by 2050 to tackle climate change, but new research has revealed a handful of regions are going one step further. 

A new “net zero tracker” produced by the Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit, EnviroLab, NewClimate Institute and Oxford Net Zero has been launched to assess net zero emissions targets in real time.

The tool looks at the pledges made by regions, cities, countries and companies around the world to keep track of when they’re promised for, and how robust the targets actually are. 

The analysis of net zero pledges across the UK reveals a mixed picture, in which entire countries (Scotland) and regions (West Yorkshire) are forging a more ambitious path on bringing down their emissions, promising net zero or carbon neutrality before the UK government’s 2050 deadline. 

Nottingham is one of the most ambitious cities in the UK, having pledged carbon neutrality by 2028. 

The city claims it has already reduced city wide CO2 emissions by above 42 per cent  since 2005, surpassing previous carbon reduction targets. 

Net zero encompasses eliminating all greenhouse gas emissions, including gases like methane along with CO2, while “carbon neutrality” only includes reduction of CO2 emissions.

CO2 makes up the majority (78.8 per cent) of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions

The zero tracker reveals hundreds of countries and regions worldwide have made pledges to reach net zero, with the target date most commonly set at 2050.

However, the number of countries that have made firm plans outlining how they’ll achieve these targets is much smaller – and setting a target is no guarantee of meeting it. 

While 18 members of the G20 – some of the richest countries in the world – have pledged net zero by 2050, just five have outlined clear plans and commitments for reaching the target.

In the UK, Northern Ireland and Wales don’t have their own plans for reaching net zero, (unlike Scotland) while Liverpool has pledged net zero by 2040 but doesn’t yet have a comprehensive plan for reaching the target.

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
'Nature is slowly healing': How rewilding is bringing Britain's extinct species back from the dead
Conservation

'Nature is slowly healing': How rewilding is bringing Britain's extinct species back from the dead

Rewilding is bringing creatures great and small back to UK – but a lack of funds is holding it back
Rewilding

Rewilding is bringing creatures great and small back to UK – but a lack of funds is holding it back

Green transition: Help retrain gas workers or risk 'cliff edge' job losses, government warned
Green transition

Green transition: Help retrain gas workers or risk 'cliff edge' job losses, government warned

How London's history-making beavers are adapting to life in the capital: 'They have a right to exist'
beavers
Environment

How London's history-making beavers are adapting to life in the capital: 'They have a right to exist'

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know