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United Kingdom

Core analysis conducted in July 2021.

Overall NDC Equity Score

Average

+

Emissions Reductions

Aspiring

The NDC makes a strong effort to create ambitious emissions reduction goals, but needs better implementation that demonstrates impact.

+

Gender Justice

Insufficient

The NDC made an effort to acknowledge the disproportionate impacts of climate on women and gender, but it insufficiently addresses long-term solutions or inclusion.

+

Youth Inclusion

Insufficient

The NDC made an effort to acknowledge the disproportionate impacts of climate on young people, but it insufficiently addresses long-term inclusion.

Summary

The UK’s NDC commits a 68% emissions reduction below 1990 levels by 2030. This represents a significant strengthening of its previous 57% target (EU target) and is aligned with the UK’s 2050 net-zero emissions target. The UK has also stated that this target will not be achieved through the use of international carbon credits. This makes the UK one of the first countries globally to bring its domestic ambitions in line with what would be necessary for the 1.5°C Paris Agreement limit. However, the UK’s target does not include emissions from Crown Dependencies or Overseas Territories, which represent about 1% of the UK’s emissions, or emissions from International Aviation and Shipping. Moreso, the UK’s Climate Change Committee (CCC) suggests that the NDC be accompanied by greater support for climate finance, particularly for developing countries, rather than spending billions on bailouts to the fossil fuel industry.

 

On gender mainstreaming, the UK NDC is light on details as women and girls are rarely mentioned explicitly. Where women are mentioned the wording is vague and non-committal, for example, the NDC states that the UK is; “dedicated to promoting equality and inclusion including women’s empowerment and gender equality”. There are some specific targets in relation to women for example enhancing diversity, gender equality, and women’s participation in the offshore wind and nuclear sectors; however, this is supporting a relatively small proportion of women across the UK. Overall, there is little indication of how women’s voices will be amplified moving forward, gender disaggregated data informed the NDC, or the UK plans to support wider gender equality goals.

 

On youth inclusion, the UK’s NDC is just as weak as on gender mainstreaming. Youth people or references to intergenerational equity are not explicit. Where young people are mentioned it tends to be in relation to capacity building or education, failing to recognize the crucial role young people play in climate-related decision-making or the impact of climate change on young people. Despite their lack of inclusion in the NDC, the UK is beginning to realise the power of young leaders as Alok Sharma (the UK COP President) established the Civil Society and Youth Advisory Council to help shape COP26 (Alok Sharma, 2021).

Highlights

  • Increases ambition from the EU emissions target.
  • Commits to not using international carbon credits to meet emissions targets.
  • Commits to consultation with civil society through the Committee on Climate Change (CCC).

Lowlights

  • Does not transparently indicate gender balance or youth inclusion in consultative processes.
  • There is little indication of how women's voices will be amplified moving forward or how the UK plans to support wider gender equality goals.
  • The NDC appears to set out relatively vague promises and puts forth disparate policies for gender in climate action rather than creating a robust plan.
  • Fails to recognize the crucial role of young people in climate action or offer concrete long-term engagement plans.

Key Recommendations

This analysis found little evidence of gender mainstreaming and youth inclusion. Since publishing the NDC, the UK has completed its role as the COP26 Presidency, where young people were recognized as key stakeholders in the final decision-text. This outcome should propel the UK to create a more inclusive and coherent NDC in the future.

The following are key recommendations for the improvement of future NDCs and other national climate plans:


For Gender Justice

  • Include gender-equality as a cross-cutting element of the NDC.
  • Include women at every stage of the NDC development and implementation process.
  • Incorporate gender disaggregated data on climate in the UK and its territories.
  • Women are showing incredible resilience and leadership in climate action, but there is a need for structural changes to support this.
  • Provide transparency in the diversity of gender of participants in NDC development.
  • Provide financial and capacity-building support to women's organizations advancing climate justice.

For Youth Inclusion

  • Include young people at every stage of the NDC development and implementation process, highlighting how their contributions informed the NDC.
  • Increase wider access to climate education and capacity building for young people.
  • Provide transparency in the diversity of youth participants in NDC development.
  • Provide financial and capacity-building support to youth-led organizations advancing climate justice.
  • The government must support intergenerational justice by backing up their ambitious emissions targets with strong action that supports future generations.

NDC Ambassador - Author

Annabel Rice

NDC Ambassador Annabel Rice (she/her) is a London-based climate activist and works in communications for a climate justice charity in the UK. She holds an undergraduate degree in Human Sciences from the University of Oxford and is currently studying for her master’s in Environment, Politics, and Society at UCL. Lately, she has largely focused on grassroots political engagement through her work with Green New Deal UK. She is excited to be using her knowledge to help create a just and sustainable future.

NDC Ambassador - Author

Cat Leggat

NDC Mentor Cat Leggat (she/her) is based in London, UK. She is a member of the UK Youth Climate Coalition, where she was able to discover her interest in the intersections between gender and climate crisis. She feels fortunate to have worked with and around amazing advocates for both gender and climate justice and is looking forward to working on these issues at this year’s international climate conference.

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Embracing Climate Equity to Shape an Equitable and Sustainable World

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