TAUNTON Deane MP Rebecca Pow has welcomed the Government’s announcement that the UK is legislating for net zero emissions by 2050 to tackle climate change - but environmental campaigners say the pledge is 'not nearly enough'.

This week, Prime Minister Theresa May announced a legally binding target to end its contribution to climate change by 2050.

The Government laid out legislation in Parliament on Wednesday to set a new target to cut emissions to "net zero" by the middle of the century.

The statutory instrument will amend the existing goal to cut climate pollution by 80% by 2050, which was agreed by MPs under the Climate Change Act in 2008.

The move comes after the Government's advisory Committee on Climate Change called for the new legal target to be brought in as soon as possible and to urgently ramp up action to cut emissions.

Hitting net zero - a 100% cut in emissions - will mean an end to heating of homes with traditional gas boilers, more green electricity, and a switch from petrol and diesel cars to electric vehicles, walking and cycling.

It could require people to eat less meat and dairy and take fewer flights.

Any remaining pollution in 2050 from areas including aviation will need to be "offset" through measures to cut carbon such as planting trees.

Ms Pow MP said: “I am delighted that the Prime Minister has listened and made this historic announcement.

"This Government is leading the way globally and ensuring that the climate change agenda is a top priority and I am pleased to have personally played a part in driving this forward and that there is cross-party support for this decision.

"It will shape our world for future generations. I continue to believe that Climate Change and protecting our environment is of overriding importance."

But Extinction Rebellion, the protest group that brought parts of London to a standstill with demonstrations in April, said the target is "not nearly enough".

"Let's not mince words, 2050 is a death sentence: people are already dying and this will only get worse with far off dates," the group said.

"We welcome that the Prime Minister is finally talking about the emergency. This is a testament to the public pressure - including the more than 1,000 people willingly arrested for this cause - that is forcing politicians to confront the existential reality of the climate and ecological emergency.

"But it is not nearly enough."

And former Labour leader Ed Miliband insisted the Government must show leadership on climate change action and not just on setting targets.

The former energy secretary welcomed moves by the UK to aim to cut emissions to "net zero" by 2050, with legislation to guarantee this target in law.

But he cautioned the Government must back this up with the right policies, including bringing forward the date to phase out new petrol and diesel vehicles.

Somerset County Gazette:

QUESTIONS: Ms Pow asks a question on climate change last month

Speaking in the Commons, Mr Miliband also welcomed the five-year review mechanism, before adding: "It may well be we need to bring forward the net zero date from 2050.

"That may well not be the original intention of the review mechanism but it may be necessary.

"Can I, however, ask the Secretary of State to recognise that in its advice the Climate Change Committee said very specifically that as well as setting the target itself, the Government must put in place the policies to meet the target.

"That means, as they said, a 2030 cut-off date for new petrol and diesel vehicles - not 2040.

"A proper decarbonisation plan for our 27 million homes, which we don't have.

"And an end to what I believe is now economically illiterate, which is a moratorium on onshore wind given it is now our cheapest fuel available.

"So can the secretary of state assure us that henceforth that there'll be leadership not just on targets but also on action?"

Business Secretary Greg Clark, in his reply, said: "We are not credited simply with leadership in terms of legislation and targets but with achievements.

"We are, of the major industrialised countries, the world's leader in decarbonising our economy at the same time as growing that economy, and that is something that I think we should be proud of."