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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.

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. 

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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.

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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.

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