Green voters will be 'extremely disappointed' in climate change targets being ditched, says former MSP Robin Harper

The Scottish Government is expected to ditch its 2030 targets in a ministerial statement this afternoon

Robin Harper, the first Green to be elected to Holyrood, says Green voters will be “extremely disappointed” in the Scottish Government scrapping climate targets.

SNP net zero secretary Màiri McAllan is expected to ditch the Government’s legal target to reduce 1990 emissions levels by 75 per cent by 2030. It is understood their Government partners, the Scottish Greens, will back the proposals.

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However, Mr Harper said Government ministers needed to work with their partners in the rest of the UK to meet climate targets.

Scottish Greens co-leaders Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie. Image: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images.Scottish Greens co-leaders Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie. Image: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images.
Scottish Greens co-leaders Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie. Image: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images.

“I think it is obvious the party will be extremely disappointed,” he told the BBC.

“This goes back to the original problem we have in Scottish politics – it is all competitive, we don’t talk about co-operation. I’m a member of a group called Our Scottish Future and we look to work with our partners in the UK to make the UK a better place.”

This comes after the independent Climate Change Committee (CCC) warned the targets were not going to be met.

Mr Harper agreed with the position outlined by the CCC, saying the 2030 target should never have been set as it was impossible to achieve.

He said: “If we were co-operating with England, Wales and Northern Ireland, we wouldn’t be in this bind because we wouldn’t have announced hugely ambitious targets which people should’ve known at the time would be incredibly difficult to meet. They shouldn’t have done that.”

He reiterated his claim the Scottish Greens have “taken their eye off the ball”, but said there were still things the party could do to alter people’s behaviour to achieve net zero.

“Overall targets are not going to be met,” he said. “We need to keep an eye on almost everything we do and report separately on what’s happening in areas like transport and recycling and then make progress on an almost monthly basis if we want to.

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“I would rather not speculate on that, but the advice I would give them, they should stick out for obvious ways forward, and sit down with their compatriots in the SNP to work out a new way of doing things.”

Ms McAllan is due to make a statement on the climate change targets on Thursday afternoon.