UK's Sunak thins out Britain's climate targets

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STORY: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak rolled back the UK's climate goals on Wednesday.

He says previous governments moved too quickly to set net zero targets without public consent.

''So to give us more time to prepare, I'm announcing today that we're going to ease the transition to electric vehicles. You'll still be able to buy petrol and diesel cars and vans until 2035. Even after that, you'll still be able to buy and sell them second-hand.“

But his U-turn went beyond electric vehicles.

''So I'm announcing today that we will give people far more time to make the necessary transition to heat pumps.” (flash)

''I'm confident that we can adopt a more pragmatic, proportionate and realistic approach to meeting net zero that eases the burdens on working people.”

Britain was the first major economy to create a legally binding 2050 net zero target and emissions have fallen almost 50% since 1990.

Sunak says that puts Britain ahead of other major economies.

But the government's own independent climate adviser said Britain isn't doing enough to hit targets and said that Wednesday’s announcement will likely take it further away from being able to meet its legal commitments.

Businesses, too - producing everything from cars to solar panels - criticized Sunak’s move.

But with a national election expected next year, Sunak appears to be betting that scaling back some green policies will win over voters who are struggling with stubbornly high inflation and stagnant economic growth.