The UK government has recently announced its ambitious goals on introducing a new law which is designed to decrease emissions within the UK by 78% by 2035, compared to the 1990 figures.
This will act alongside the UK’s goals to reduce emissions by 68% by 2030, a promise which was made last December.
This is part of a sixth Carbon Budget that aims to limit the volume of emissions emitted over the five year period of 2033-2037.
The steps which the government is currently taking will allow the UK to become carbon neutral by the year 2050, thus enabling the nation to fulfil the Paris Agreement.
Fulfilling the Paris agreement will help the UK to drastically increase air quality within the nation, an important commitment to complete as every year, 36,000 individuals die due to poor air quality in the UK.
At the same time, a child is admitted to hospital every 20 minutes due to Asthma attacks, showing how poor air quality is significantly impacting the public health of this nation.
Decreasing public health has many negative economic implications, if a larger percentage of the population requires treatment due to poor air quality, NHS waiting times increase as the service cannot treat everyone due to its scarce resources.
According to TradingEconomics, hospital beds per 1000 people has decreased to 2.54 in 2018 from 2.57 in 2017.
This marks a downwards trend as in 2016 hospital beds per 1000 was at 2.61, although these figures are somewhat dated the likelihood is that this scarcity has worsened due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Nevertheless, the combination of increased waiting times with a population suffering from problems due to poor air quality causes workers to be sick for longer periods of time.
This has adverse effects on the economy as this has a knock-on effect on the productivity of workers as they are forced to take more time off work due to being ill.
This effectively reduces the output per person within the economy, therefore leading to a contraction in the productive capacity of the UK economy.
This is not the only issue however as there is the potential human loss which also has to be accounted for.
So, improving air quality within the UK is extremely important, especially when the external costs associated with poor air quality are accounted for.
Furthermore, reducing carbon emissions will also fulfil the UK governments objective of making economic growth stable and sustainable as green energy will ensure that resources are better preserved for future generations.
Now that it has been established why it is so important to ensure carbon-neutrality is achieved, it likely should be the goal of most developed nations to fulfil this goal in the coming years in an effort to ensure that global warming does not take a toll on the natural world.
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Research compiled by Jonas Theaker.