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April 20, 2021, 3:56 p.m. EDT

Ahead of Biden’s climate summit, U.K. toughens its greenhouse gas emissions targets

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By Pierre Briançon

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is poised to announce this week stricter greenhouse gas emissions targets for the next 15 years, aiming at cutting carbon dioxide by 78% in 2035, compared with 1990 levels.

  • Johnson will announce the new goal in the coming days, according to a Financial Times report later confirmed by several British media . If confirmed, the government’s new target would make the U.K. the first developed economy with such ambitious targets.

  • President Joe Biden has organized a virtual summit of 40 world leaders on climate later this week, where he is expected to announce the U.S.’ own “national determined contribution” for carbon curbs. The U.K. will host crucial COP26 United Nations climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland in November.

  • The U.K. had announced last year a target of 68% fall of gas emissions by 2030. It accounts for 1.1% of global carbon emissions, against the U.S.’ 15% and China’s 26%.

  • The International Energy Agency said in a report published on Tuesday that global carbon emissions will jump 4.8% this year — the biggest increase in history — after falling 5.8% in 2020 due to the global, COVID-19 pandemic-induced recession.

Read: As Kerry secures climate pledge with China, here’s what else to watch for at Biden’s Earth Day summit

The outlook: Johnson is eager to ensure that the COP26 at the end of the year will be a success. And the rise in Germany of the Green Party — which has a credible chance at winning general elections in October — is helping to focus European politicians’ minds on the political impact of climate change issues.

From the archives (October 2020): Boris Johnson in Bid to Make U.K. the ‘Saudi Arabia’ of Wind Power

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