Scotland fails to hit annual climate target for third year in a row

Scotland has again missed its annual target for cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, new official figures reveal.

It is the third year in a row the Scottish Government’s climate change goals have been missed.

The latest statistics show emissions in 2019 were 51.5 per cent lower than 1990 baseline levels.

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The figure falls far short of the national target, which demands a 55 per cent reduction over the same period.

The Scottish government has set a legal target to slash greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2045, five years ahead of the UK deadline for the same result.

Source emissions in 2019 were lower than the previous year, but only because 2018 figures have been revised upwards.

The report also shows Scotland s natural assets such as peatlands and forests are now considered to be a source of emissions rather than acting as a carbon sink to absorb them due to their degraded state.

Transport remains responsible for the biggest share of the country’s total emissions, followed by the business and agriculture sectors.

Scotland has missed it annual climate change emissions reduction target for the third year in a row
Scotland has missed it annual climate change emissions reduction target for the third year in a row

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The Scottish government has come under fire over the failure from opposition parties and environmental organisations.

The report proves Scotland needs to do more to tackle climate change, according to WWF Scotland.

“Despite some positive progress in key sectors, including transport and heat, the pace continues to fall short of where we need to be if we’re to meet our net-zero ambitions,” said Fabrice Leveque, head of policy for the charity.

“It’s critical that transformative action is taken, especially in agriculture, where emissions are flat-lining.

“Peatlands have the potential to lock away huge amounts of carbon but due to their degraded state they’re releasing this back to the atmosphere.

“Increased effort in these areas could revitalise rural economies and restore our precious nature, helping to ensure a fair and green recovery from the Covid pandemic.”

Scottish Greens environment spokesman Mark Ruskell said ministers needed to “wake up” to the urgency required to curb global warming:

“These latest stats show that Scotland is not cutting emissions fast enough to meet our international obligations,” he said.

“There must be a step change in Scotland’s policies to cut emissions, before it becomes irreversible.”

Monica Lennon, Scottish Labour spokeswoman for net zero, energy and transport, said “rhetoric” was “not being matched by action”.

She said: “Empty promises and missed targets are not good enough in a climate emergency.

“In the year of COP26, when Scotland should be leading the world, we are instead failing on the basics.

“We need bold action now to get us back on track to meet these crucial targets.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat energy spokesman Liam McArthur said the SNP’s “warm words will make for an even warmer planet”.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “While today’s statistics on the 2019 annual target are undoubtedly disappointing, the figures do show that we have already achieved significant progress in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions – we are now more than half way to our target of becoming a net-zero nation.

“This is something we can all be proud of. We have always been clear that the second half of our journey to net zero will be more challenging – and it will require urgent, collective action across Government, Parliament and, indeed, across every corner of society, in order to achieve it.”

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