Climate: UK is 'struggling to meet its targets and should 'look at the US' for guidance, ex UN negotiator says

·2-min read

The UK government is "struggling" to meet its climate goals and should "look at the United States" for guidance, the former head of the UN Climate Change negotiations has told Sky News. 

In an exclusive interview with Sky News' Daily Climate Show, Christiana Figueres says the UK has a "huge job" ahead to meet its own net zero carbon targets by 2050.

"The UK government is currently in process of struggling, frankly, to align all of the policies that are in the energy sector, in the transport sector and all of the sectors that they need," Ms Figueres says.

"Let's remember that the UK was the first country to commit to net zero in national law, but the implementation across all agencies is a work in progress."

In her role as executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Ms Figueres brokered the landmark 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement.

The deal, which was at first ratified by 195 nations, was a commitment by countries to take steps to limit global warming to under two degrees by 2050.

But when he came into office in 2017, former president Donald Trump withdrew the US from the agreement calling it "a bad deal for America" and the US remains the world's second biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, after China.

Ms Figueres says "there was four years of darkness in the US around climate change" but that now it has "come from behind to be in front".

Not only has President Joe Biden re-entered the US into the Paris deal but she says the US is now "the only country that is having an all-of-government approach to climate change".

"What they have done now is not just dovetail itself into where the world is on climate change but actually take a step forward and give a very, very clear mandate to all agencies, to all departments that they are to do their domestic job but they have to do it through the lens of climate change," she said.

"That is something that the UK but also all other countries can and should emulate."

The interview with Christiana Figueres can be seen on the Sky News Daily Climate Show at 6.30pm and 9.30pm on Wednesday, with an extended interview available on Friday on Sky News ClimateCast.

Sky News has launched the first daily prime time news show dedicated to climate change.

Hosted by Anna Jones, The Daily Climate Show will follow Sky News correspondents as they investigate how global warming is changing our landscape and how we all live our lives.

The show will also highlight solutions to the crisis and show how small changes can make a big difference.