Scotland must speed up targets for climate change, warn experts

Scotland's ambitious targets on climate change need to be fast-tracked in areas such as transport and heating to remain world-leading, experts warn.

Watchdog asks Scottish Government for more effort in sectors other than power

The independent Committee on Climate Change (CCC), which advises the Scottish and Westminster governments, said Scotland was performing well compared with the rest of the UK but “more effort is needed in sectors other than power” because only the 
electricity-generating sector has achieved significant decreases in recent years.

The UK climate watchdog’s report released today warns “more needs to be done, especially in sectors such as transport, agriculture and heat for non-residential buildings in which little progress is currently being made. Otherwise, Scotland’s ambitious targets will be at risk.”

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The Climate Change Act of 2009 committed the Scottish Government to cutting emissions by 80 per cent from 1990 levels by 2050 – but ministers are now proposing a 90 per cent target.

CCC chairman Lord Deben – the former Tory MP John Selwyn Gummer – said Scotland’s ambition on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and tackling climate change was among the highest in the world.

“The Scottish Government’s climate change plan will deliver the next chapter of emissions reductions into the 2030s and beyond. It’s therefore essential further work is done to ramp up emissions reductions right across the Scottish economy and think through how to reduce emissions from heating Scotland’s buildings and from transport, among other areas.

“The process of review and revision should enable this to happen in time for the adoption of the final climate change plan early next year.”

Tom Ballantine, chairman of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, a coalition of organisations campaigning on climate change, wants the Scottish Government’s targets stepped up to zero emissions by 2050.

He said: “Over 18,000 people across Scotland have called on the Scottish Government to be bolder in the forthcoming Bill and set a legal target for net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest, with stronger action for warmer homes, healthier 
travel and greener farming.”

Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “We acknowledge there are areas where more needs to be done to continue meeting our ambitious targets and to prepare for even greater future ambition under our proposed Climate Change Bill.

“The final version of our climate change plan will reflect the new Programme for Government commitments. Our approach will also continue to be based on the best available evidence.”