Scottish Labour has pledged to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 through a long-term climate change strategy.
The plans goes further than the Scottish Government’s proposal in the Climate Change Bill to cut emissions by at least 90 per cent by 2050, a 10 per cent increase on current legislation.
Labour’s plans match the government’s first interim target of a 56 per cent reduction by 2020 but set a more ambition interim goal for 2030 of 77 per cent , compared to the government’s 66 per cent .
Speaking ahead of the announcement on Monday, Labour’s climate change spokeswoman Claudia Beamish said the draft bill is “far too timid”.
She said: “It is our duty to step up for global climate justice and Scottish Labour’s climate policy addresses these obligations while giving Scotland time to adapt in a just way for the workforce and communities.”
She said that the policy recognises the inequality in Scotland’s current and historic greenhouse gas production, compared to elsewhere in the world, and that the worst impacts of climate change are hitting those who contributed least to the problem.
The MSP also said action must be taken now in the interests of “inter-generational justice” to avoid passing the burden on emission reduction to the next generation.
A Scottish Government spokesperson said Scotland has the toughest climate change targets in the world.
“The Bill sets a target to reduce all greenhouse gas emissions by 90 per cent by 2050 which will mean net-zero carbon dioxide by the same date,” she added.
“In other words, Scotland will be carbon neutral.
“The Bill also means the Scottish Government is legally bound to regularly review when to set a net-zero target for all greenhouse gases and as soon as that target date can be set credibly and responsibly, we will write that date into law too.
“We will legislate for a net-zero target date as soon as we can be sure that, based on the best scientific understanding, it is achievable and doing so will not compromise the well-being of the people of Scotland.”
Gina Hanrahan, of campaign group Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, praised Labour’s new policy and called on all parties to work together to tackle climate change.
Scottish Trades Union Congress deputy general secretary Dave Moxham added: “Scotland’s trade unions are clear that tackling climate change is a moral imperative and Scotland must play its part in reducing emissions.
“However, targets must not be met at the expense of the workforce and communities which currently extract or depend on the use of fossil fuels.”