Scotland must slash greenhouse gas emissions by nearly two-thirds in the next 14 years to hit its tough climate targets, according to a new report.
The Climate Change (Scotland) Act requires emissions reductions of at least 42 per cent by 2020 and 80 per cent by 2050.
In a report for the Scottish Government, independent advisors from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) said the country should continue its high-ambition strategy towards its world-leading goals, set out in 2009.
Scotland has missed all four of its interim annual targets, though adjusted accounting techniques have been blamed.
The most recent figures, show emissions have fallen 38.4 per cent from the 1990 baseline level. The CCC report recommends cuts of 61 per cent by 2030 are necessary to reach this, a move that goes beyond the goals set out by the UK government for the same period.
The committee says the aim is “achievable” but climate action must be ramped up. CCC chairman Lord Deben said: “There is a lot of positive action already under way in Scotland, driven by both its vibrant renewable sector and its bold policy approaches.
“This must now be accelerated. New policies will be required to meet these ambitious but achievable carbon objectives. With these actions Scotland can continue as an example to the rest of the UK in its approach to address climate change.”
Suggestions include installing low-carbon heating systems in a third of homes, upping the number of electric vehicles, expanding renewable energy and tree planting.
Environmentalists have welcomed the findings and echoed the all for greater efforts.
“The advice from the UK CCC describes a rapid transition away from fossil fuels towards a clean, renewable-energy future,” said Jim Densham, from Stop Climate Chaos Scotland. This is a powerful reminder that all political parties need to step up action.”
The country is three quarters of the way towards its 2020 goal, and ministers insist it can meet the 2050 obligation.
“We are on track to exceed our 2020 target for a 42 per cent reduction from baseline levels in greenhouse gas emissions and have outperformed the UK as a whole in every year since 2010,” said environment and climate change minister Aileen McLeod.
“The committee’s current advice on how best to maintain our high ambition approach will be taken into account when Scotland’s next batch of targets are set in October.”