SCOTLAND will continue to fail climate change targets almost every year under the SNP’s policies for achieving its green ambitions, environmentalists warn.
The Scottish Government’s latest draft report outlining how it will reach each annual goal from now until 2027 shows that the policies it currently contains will only make it possible to hit this year’s annual carbon emissions reduction target.
Ministers maintain that if all their proposals in the draft are also implemented – and they succeed in lobbying for tougher European standards – then each of the 15 targets will be exceeded. But environmental groups fear that there are too many uncertainties and too few concrete commitments to turn Scotland’s climate change agenda into real change.
The concerns were raised as MSPs sought expert views on the SNP’s controversial new report listing proposals and policies for cutting carbon emissions between now and 2027.
Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland and a member of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, said: “If we are to hit every target between now and 2027 every policy in this draft has to work fully, every proposal has to be implemented fully and Europe has to move [on toughening emissions targets].
“We have already failed the first annual target. If we fail future annual targets under Scotland’s Climate Change Act ministers could say they will buy international carbon credits so that somewhere else in the world avoids some carbon emissions.”
Dr Sam Gardner, senior climate and energy policy officer at WWF Scotland, said: “As it stands the Scottish Government’s draft climate action plan will mean we miss all but one of our targets between now and 2027. We are calling for the action plan to be strengthened to ensure Scotland cuts its own emissions and enjoys the benefits of a truly low carbon economy.”
The SNP has set an overall target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 42 per cent by 2020. By 2010 it was more than halfway there but last year it emerged that the first annual target, for 2010, had been missed.
The Scottish Parliament will reports its findings on the draft report at the end of next month. A Scottish Government spokesman said the report showed how existing policies would enable the government to reach its targets.