Machynlleth’s Centre for Alternative Technology has responded to a government commitment to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.

Last week, the Welsh government said it would accept the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) recommendation for a 95% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and go further with an ambition to reach net-zero by 2050.

But the centre has renewed calls for more ambitious targets, including the creation of a clear and urgent Climate Emergency Action Plan, and funding and support for training programmes that will help the UK to roll out solutions at the scale and speed required.

CAT’s Zero Carbon Britain Project Coordinator, Paul Allen said the country now “could not afford to wait”.

“A target date of 2040 or earlier would show real global leadership whilst taking responsibility for our historic emissions and helping deliver climate justice,” he said.

“CAT is calling on the UK and devolved governments to create a Climate Emergency Action Plan targeting 2040 at the latest, detailing how this will be achieved, and including binding, ambitious interim targets. This plan must cover all emissions, including those from imported goods as well as international aviation and shipping, and must not rely on offsetting emissions.”

The Welsh Government says it will bring regulations to the Assembly next year to amend Wales’ interim targets and carbon budgets as necessary.

“The solutions to the crisis already exist. CAT’s Zero Carbon Britain research project has shown how we could achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions using technology available today. What’s needed is the political and social will to make change happen. We need strong government policy and financial support to achieve the transition.

“By powering down energy demand from buildings and transport, powering up our clean energy supplies through investment in renewables, and by transforming diets and land-use, we can balance supply and demand and reach net-zero emissions.

“The Committee on Climate Change has highlighted that a lack of skills in low and zero carbon solutions is one of the key barriers to change. CAT’s Graduate School of the Environment and associated training courses provide many of the essential skills, with over 1,500 people having graduated with degrees in sustainable solutions and thousands more having been trained through our renewable energy installers courses. These skills need to be made available to many more people as we scale up our response to the climate emergency.

“We can turn this around – but we need a radical climate emergency action plan, and we need to start now.”

In March, the Welsh Government published its low carbon plan containing detailed sector-by-sector emissions profiles and 100 policies and proposals to achieve a low-carbon Wales. Soon afterwards, the Minister declared a climate emergency to strengthen and galvanise climate change action at home and internationally.

Accepting the recommendation, the Minister said: “I would like to thank the Committee on Climate Change for their advice. We are committed to delivering the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions required to make our contribution to a net zero target for the UK. Achievement of these targets would mean the UK ends its contribution to global warming within 30 years and fulfils our commitments under the Paris Agreement.”

“Therefore, I am accepting the CCC’s recommendation for a 95% reduction in Wales. But I want to go further and today I am declaring our ambition to bring forward a target for Wales to achieve net zero emissions no later than 2050. In order to identify opportunities for even more rapid decarbonisation in Wales I will work closely with the CCC and other stakeholders.”

The Minister has today also urged the UK Government to ensure the costs of moving to net-zero are spread across the UK and called for closer collaboration across all governments on a UK target.