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Britain pledges to reach net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050

LONDON — In one of her final acts as prime minister, Theresa May pledged Wednesday to pass legislation that will commit Britain to eliminating its contribution to climate change by 2050, making it the first Group of Seven advanced economies to do so.

“This country led the world in innovation during the Industrial Revolution, and now we must lead the world to a cleaner, greener form of growth,” May said.

Environmental groups welcomed the announcement but raised concerns about how, exactly, Britain plans to reach net zero greenhouse has emissions by 2050. Others said the target was not ambitious enough or would be impossible to achieve.

Major protests in Britain, including by children skipping school to march through cities, have helped push climate change toward the top of the political agenda.

An activist group called Extinction Rebellion has also organized several high-profile protests, leading to more than 1,000 arrests. One of its demonstrations included a “die-in” at the Natural History Museum, where hundreds of demonstrators lay down in a hall beneath a blue whale skeleton to raise awareness of predicted mass-extinction events caused by humans.

May is keen to cement a legacy beyond Brexit in her final weeks as prime minister. She resigned as party leader Friday and will officially step down as head of government once her successor is picked, mostly likely in late July.

“It’s clear this is a legacy issue, and it really is a tremendous legacy for her to leave behind,” said Bob Ward, policy director for the London-based Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.

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