Boris Johnson outlined plans yesterday that would bring forward the ban on the sales of all new petrol and diesel vehicles by five years.
The original proposals were made in 2017, but the latest announcement will see the ban come in by 2035 with hybrid vehicles now also included as part of the ban.
The changes were made in response to experts arguing that 2040 would be too late if the UK is serious about achieving its target of achieving net zero emissions by 2050.
Mr Johnson made the announcement at an event to launch the UN’s next COP26 climate change conference, saying 2020 would be a ‘defining year of climate action’ globally.
The prime minister said: “Hosting COP26 is an important opportunity for the UK and nations across the globe to step up in the fight against climate change.
“As we set out our plans to hit our ambitious 2050 net zero target across this year, so we shall urge others to join us in pledging net zero emissions.
“There can be no greater responsibility than protecting our planet, and no mission that a global Britain is prouder to serve."
Speaking at the launch, Sir David Attenborough said that the developments were ‘encouraging’, and that he was looking forward to the COP26 summit.
"Now is the moment," he said, "It is up to us to organise the nations of the world to do something about it”.
The UK will be hosting the annual COP26 summit in Glasgow this coming November, where the UN leads a gathering to review the progress being made to tackle the climate issue.
The government of Scotland doesn’t actually have the power to pass an outright ban on new petrol and diesel cars, but have said that they will ‘phase out the need’ for such vehicles by 2032. The Scottish government intends to do this by expanding the charging network for electric cars, as well as other measures.
Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, said: “This government’s £1.5bn strategy to make owning an electric vehicle as easy as possible is working – last year alone, a fully electric car was sold every 15 minutes.
“We want to go further than ever before. That’s why we are bringing forward our already ambitious target to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars to tackle climate change and reduce emissions”.
Mike Childs of Friends of the Earth welcomed the government’s decision to bring the ban forward, but thought that 2030 would be more effective.
“A new 2035 target will still leave the UK in the slow-lane of the electric car revolution and meantime allow more greenhouse gases to spew into the atmosphere," Childs said.
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