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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Charities savage Scottish Government as it ditches climate pledge


"Re-writing Scotland’s climate rulebook is an acute global embarrassment"

Scrapping Scotland’s key climate change target is the “worst environmental decision in the history of the Scottish Parliament” according to charities.

Ministers have ditched the aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 75% by 2030.

Màiri McAllan (pictured), cabinet secretary for net zero, said the target is now “out of reach”.

The Scottish Government will also scrap its annual and interim targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

They will be replaced with a system measuring emissions every five years.

McAllan said the government needs to act and “chart a course” to make the ambition to be net zero by 2045 “at a pace and scale that is feasible, fair and just.”

The widely expected decisions were met with dismay by Scotland’s environment charities, with Oxfam’s Jamie Livingstone saying it made the country an “global embarrassment”.

He said: “With the world becoming a dirtier and deadlier place every day, any decision by Scottish ministers to re-write Scotland’s climate rulebook is an acute global embarrassment.

"It would also be the direct and damaging consequence of the Scottish Government’s own dilly dallying on climate action."

Friends of the Earth Scotland branded it "the worst environmental decision in the history of the Scottish Parliament".

The charity's Connal Hughes said: "The Scottish Government has had 15 years to bring forward the transformative action that would mean warm homes, good public transport and good green jobs.

"They haven't delivered. Instead of ramping up action they're scrapping targets and breaking promises."

He said it was "very concerning" that annual targets have been dropped.

Stop Climate Change Scotland (SCCS), Scotland’s civil society coalition on climate action, which SCVO is a member of,  said a new range of policies brought forward by ministers, which include “a new national integrated ticketing system for public transport in Scotland” are “wholly inadequate” and must now be urgently strengthened, and delivered at speed.

Mike Robinson, chair of SCCS, said: “The fact that Scottish ministers feel they have no choice but to shift Scotland’s climate goal posts is the inevitable and damaging consequence of their abject failure to deliver the speed and depth of climate action needed since the 2030 target was set.

“However, none of us can hide from the realities of climate science and a continued failure to make our fair contribution to retaining a liveable planet would be, as the first minister himself described it, "catastrophic negligence".

“The lack of sufficient climate action to date represents a major breach of trust with the people of Scotland and communities around the world who have done least to cause the crisis but whose lives and livelihoods are already being destroyed. 

“The range of largely re-heated measures announced by the Scottish Government are wholly inadequate and fall very significantly short of the transformational acceleration in action needed. Scottish ministers must now be judged on whether and how quickly they strengthen these inadequate measures, and how quickly they then deliver and fund them.”

Lang Banks, director of WWF Scotland, said the news is “bitterly disappointing” and blamed the Scottish Government’s delays in delivering its own policies, over many years.

He said: “By failing to treat the climate crisis as the emergency that it is, and deliver the actions needed, Scotland’s 2030 target has been put out of reach.

“We now need to see the emergency response from government that is required to put our climate ambitions back on track. It's welcome to hear ministers reiterate their commitment to tackling climate change and the policies that have been proposed today. However, the real test is how quickly these, and existing commitments, are turned into reality to start delivering real benefits for people like warmer homes, healthier air, and supporting more farmers to adopt climate and nature-friendly practices.

“The recent farm floods show that the climate crisis has not gone away, and polling shows that public support in Scotland for action remains high. We urgently need a repeat of the success we’ve already seen on renewables, in sectors such as agriculture, homes, and transport. We therefore need the Scottish and UK governments, politicians from all parties, businesses, and the public to all play their part in delivering a climate and nature-friendly future.”

Meanwhile, Anne Callaghan, SCIAF advocacy officer, responded: “Right now, millions of people are suffering on the front line of the climate crisis in places like Malawi, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Zambia. Every day they deal with loss of life, livelihoods and land from hunger, flooding and drought.   

“Rich countries like Scotland have caused the climate emergency with our emissions, both now and in the past, and have benefited economically from using fossil fuels. Scientists tell us that we must cut emissions now or we risk making our world even more unliveable.  

“The Scottish Government needs to step up and deliver a just transition to a low carbon economy. Without an emergency response that delivers at pace, we risk playing our part in making this planet hell on earth.”    

It wasn’t just the environment sector which responded with dismay. Peter Kelly, director of The Poverty Alliance, said: "Democracy relies on political leaders keeping their promises to the people. Today's announcement will undermine trust in the Scottish Government, and we call on all MSPs to carry out their duty to hold ministers to account and keep our climate pledges.

"From rising food and fuel costs, to homes that can't withstand extreme weather, and increased health risks - global warming hits poorer people the hardest.

"For years we have been calling on ministers to budget for a better future, raising the investment we need to make Scotland's homes warm and energy efficient, to make public transport affordable and accessible, and to create new jobs in a net zero economy. Those calls have too often fallen on deaf ears.

"Scotland is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, and we can unlock that wealth for the public good, making rhetoric about climate justice and poverty a reality and building a better future for people here and around the world."



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29 days ago

The only surprise here is that it took ministers so long to figure it out.......Well; perhaps not.