A new report says Scotland has work to do if it wants to meet ambitious emissions targets
Campaigners have called for Scotland to take the lead on climate change.
A new report has shown that while Scotland has been making progress in reducing emissions, success in meeting our new climate targets is by no means guaranteed. The report has said if targets are going to be met, the Scottish Government must set out a clear pathway to net zero by 2045.
The report from the independent UK climate watchdog the UK Committee on Climate Change (CCC), which assesses Scotland’s progress on reducing climate emissions, outlines how the Scottish Government can use the upcoming revision to its Climate Change Plan to set out how it plans to move Scotland onto a new low emissions trajectory.
Tom Ballantine, chair of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, said: "The CCC have rightfully identified that we are in a unique position and at a pivotal moment. With only nine years left to meet the target of reducing emissions by 75%, it is absolutely crucial that the Scottish Government produces a Climate Change Plan which sets out the urgent action we need to achieve this target.
“The Climate Change Plan must deliver a recovery from the pandemic which is green and fair, by leading transformational change that secures jobs and ensures a just transition for workers transitioning to climate-friendly industries.
“We want to see new and detailed policies across all sectors that deliver rapid emissions cuts and a strong commitment to transformational action in underperforming sectors where emissions remain high, such as transport, agriculture and buildings. This means moving money from major road building to making public transport more affordable, and setting a target to make all homes easier to heat by 2030. This must be done in tandem with protecting and enhancing the things that help to reduce emissions, such as peatlands and woodlands.
"With just over a year until Scotland hosts the UN climate talks, COP26, we urge the Scottish Government to get on track to meeting our targets and show that we are world leaders in climate action."
Lord Deben, chairman of the Committee on Climate Change, said: “Scotland faces an extraordinary challenge in dealing with Covid-19, but we must not lose sight of the climate crisis. The decisions to secure a resilient recovery are pivotal. Scotland can no longer rely on electricity generation to reduce its emissions, so it must begin to make more meaningful progress in the other sectors of the economy. To reach net-zero emissions ahead of the rest of the UK and to earn its stripes as an international climate leader when the world looks to Glasgow next year, decisive action and clear policies are urgently required.”
Environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “While in recent months coronavirus has rightly been the overwhelming focus of governments across the world, the global climate emergency has not gone away – far from it - and this report is a timely reminder of that.
“Today’s publication of independent, expert advice from the committee is of particular significance, coming at a time when building a green recovery must be central to all of our efforts.
“As the report points out, Scotland’s economy has decarbonised more quickly than the rest of the UK, and faster than any G20 economy since 2008. We have halved our national emissions since 1990 but we must go further and faster if we are to achieve a just transition to net-zero by 2045.
“We are now in the process of updating our Climate Change Plan, for publication later this year, and I will be considering the recommendations in the committee’s report very carefully as we finalise this plan in the coming months.
“However, there can be no doubt Scotland’s climate change targets are immensely challenging. If we are to succeed in ending our contribution to global climate change, it will require action from every area of society and the economy. It must be a shared national endeavour.
“And as the committee’s report makes clear, there must be more action – right now and in the future - from the UK Government in many key areas where policy levers remain reserved.
"I hope the global climate talks at COP26 in Glasgow next year will also provide a platform to spur wider action and set the whole world on a course to net-zero in a way that is both just and fair for all living on this precious planet and for generations to come.”