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Today the Committee on Climate Change, the Government’s official climate advisors, released their report detailing what progress has been made one year on from the adoption of the target to reach net zero emissions by 2050. The report reveals a staggering lack of progress, with only four of the 21 indicators on track and two of 31 milestones reached on the road to net zero emissions. 

The report maps the range of climate risks for the UK using 2˚C to 4˚C scenarios with little practical reference to the Paris Climate Agreement’s advised temperature limit of 1.5˚C, advising all departments to plan for “a minimum 2°C rise in global temperature with consideration of 4°C.”

Tim Crosland, Director of the volunteer-based climate litigation charity Plan B. Earth, said:

“In 2008 the CCC advised the Government that 4˚C was the threshold of “extreme danger”, to be avoided at all costs [1]. Today it is advising the Government to consider preparing for a 4˚C world [2]. As the leading climate scientist, Professor Johan Rockstrom has recently warned, a 4˚C world implies the loss of not just millions but billions of human lives [3], with racially marginalised communities and those in the Global South on the front line. 

“It is madness to prepare for such a world and madness that the Bank of England is financing such an outcome [4]. To the contrary the Government, along with the G20 and others, must do everything possible to transition our economy to bring it into compliance with the Paris Agreement temperature limit of 1.5˚C, which it is Government policy to follow. It has no democratic mandate to use the COVID-19 financial stimulus to drive us to destruction.”

The Plan B. Earth director, who’s climate litigation charity was one of the successful claimants in the case which the Court of Appeal ruled against the expansion of Heathrow Airport on the grounds that it was incompatible with the government’s commitment to the Paris Agreement, added:

“As polls and Citizens Assemblies have shown, people are demanding the green transition that according to the IEA will create far more jobs than the alternative [5] [6] [7]. If the Government ignores the interests of its citizens in favour of the tax-avoiding, polluting corporations who are lobbying it with such fervour, then urgent legal action and mass civil disobedience will be necessary, in the UK and elsewhere.”

Clare Farrell, Extinction Rebellion co-founder, said:

“It will come as no surprise to most people that the latest CCC report is another abject failure to hold power to account. The UK government, and everyone in positions of power today, are colluding to cancel the future of life on earth. We have set targets that guarantee immeasurable human suffering and we are not even meeting them. If they were honest, the CCC would just write a paper that says we are failing and its fucking scary. 

“To describe our national response to this as a piss take would be generous, and this paper is part of that work. Climate destruction and biodiversity loss are irreversible, happening now, and there is no time to wait. We must act now; decisively, collectively, intelligently. All good people must work together, in solidarity. Nobody is coming to save humanity, not the CCC, and not our embarrassing government. It’s up to all of us.” 

Dr. Chris Newman, co-founder of Doctors for Extinction Rebellion, said:

“Our government’s short termism is alarming. Their inaction is equivalent to a doctor refusing to treat a patient’s chronic illness because it won’t kill them in the next 4 years. They have set a target of net zero which will give the patient, in this case our families, a 50:50 chance of safety, and even then they have failed to meet their own dangerously ambiguous targets in every sector of government.

“If the government were a doctor, they would be struck off for negligence.”

Dr. Jason Hickel, economic anthropologist, author, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Senior Lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London, said:

“The CCC’s calls for emissions reductions in the UK fall foul of the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement requires reaching zero emissions before 2050. But this is a global target. According to the principle of equity, which is enshrined in the Paris Agreement, high-income nations that have contributed the most to historical emissions are required to reduce emissions faster than the global average.

“For the UK, this means reaching zero by around 2030. This is absolutely possible to achieve, with concerted action to roll out renewable energy and a planned reduction in total energy use.  But this ambition is absent in the CCC’s report, and absent in government policy. This is a betrayal of our collective obligations, a betrayal of future generations, and betrayal of those who will be most affected by climate breakdown. We must do better.”

This morning, people around the country came together in their towns and cities – London, Warwick, Forest Dean, Cornwall and more – to deliver letters to their MPs demanding they call out their criminal inaction on the climate and ecological emergency. In London, XR Professionals visited government departments delivering the letter, which states “The 2050 net zero target laid out in the Committee on Climate Change’s report is already dangerously late and yet today’s findings show the Government isn’t even sticking to its own dismal targets. You must make it clear to your constituents that Government inaction will lead to the death of millions.” [8]

Notes to editors

[1] ament-Committee-on-Cli.._-002-1.pdf

[2] imate-Change-2008.pdf 

[3] ees-2100-change-way-we-live 

[4] -report-2019-20.pdf?la=en&hash=5DA959C54540287A2E90C823807E089055E6721B 

[5] ng/ 

[6] d-drive-progress-net-zero-target/ 



About Extinction Rebellion

Time has almost entirely run out to address the ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction, global pollution, and abrupt, runaway climate change. Societal collapse and mass death are seen as inevitable by scientists and other credible voices, with human extinction also a possibility, if rapid action is not taken.

Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal inactivity by their Government.

Extinction Rebellion’s key demands are:

  1. Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
  2. Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
  3. Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.

What Emergency? | Extinction Rebellion in Numbers |This Is Not A Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook 

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About Rising Up!

Extinction Rebellion emerged from the Rising Up! network, which promotes a fundamental change of our political and economic system to one which maximises well-being and minimises harm. Change needs to be nurtured in a culture of reverence, gratitude and inclusion while the tools of civil disobedience and direct action are used to express our collective power.

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