Calls for Scotland to set 100% emissions reduction target

Scotland should continue to lead the world on climate change ambitions, say environmentalists. Picture: Getty Images
Scotland should continue to lead the world on climate change ambitions, say environmentalists. Picture: Getty Images
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Scotland should continue to lead the world on climate change ambitions and set a new 100 per cent emissions reduction target, according to environmentalists.

They say green action must be dramatically stepped up if there is to be any hope of limiting global warming to the 1.5C set out in the historic Paris climate agreement.

The Swedish law aims to cut transport emissions by 70 per cent by 2030, more than double Scotland’s ambition

Gina Hanrahan, WWF Scotland

The call comes as Sweden unveils tough new climate laws for the first time, putting the country’s goals ahead of Scotland’s.

New legislation demands that Swedes reach zero net emissions by 2045 and move to negative figures thereafter, though this includes international carbon trading credits.

It also requires emissions cuts in the transport sector of at least 70 per cent by 2030.

Scottish ministers this week outlined intentions to raise the statutory emissions reduction goal in the forthcoming Climate Change Bill, with a new aim for cuts of 90 per cent by 2050. The current target is 80 per cent.

But campaigners insist they should aim higher and aspire to phase out greenhouse gas emissions completely in the same timeframe.

Gina Hanrahan, acting head of policy at WWF Scotland, said: “The forthcoming Climate Change Bill is a huge opportunity to step up Scotland’s ambitions if we’re to retain our position amongst the front-runners of the zero-carbon revolution.

“If we’re to limit warming to 1.5C to fulfil the Paris Agreement, the Scottish Government now needs to legislate for strong action and a net-zero target no later than 2050.

“The bill should also legislate for action in areas like transport, where emissions have barely changed in 30 years. The Swedish law aims to cut transport emissions by 70 per cent by 2030, more than double Scotland’s ambition.”

She added: “We need to keep up or risk losing out on the huge benefits.”

Stefan Henningsson, lead on climate and energy practice at WWF Sweden, welcomed his country’s new laws and world-leading target as “an important victory for the Paris Agreement and the planet”.

The environmental organisation has campaigned for a climate law in Sweden for a long time and helped achieve cross-party support for the new bill.

“With the zero-carbon transition happening at a pace many thought impossible only a few years ago, the race to stay ahead of the game is hotting up,” he said.

“We have been inspired by the Scottish and UK climate acts in the process. But our legislation now goes significantly further. This commitment and the actions that go with it are good for Swedish society and good for our economy.”

A new report published this week shows Scotland hit its interim target for 2015, despite a rise in adjusted emissions.

Scottish environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham says the country remains on track to meet its 2020 target, which calls for a 42 per cent decrease in emissions from the 1990 baseline level.

This was achieved and exceeded in 2014, but could still go awry by the deadline.

The Scottish Government has put forward new interim targets for 2032, including a 66 per cent cut in emissions, a fully decarbonised electricity sector and 80 per cent of domestic heat to come from low-carbon sources.