Scottish Greens ‘won’t back SNP’s key climate change bill’

Mark Ruskell. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Mark Ruskell. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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The Scottish Greens have said they will not back the SNP Government’s flagship climate legislation at Holyrood this week unless changes are made which would mean “significantly more ambitious” reductions in carbon emissions by 2030.

The Climate Change (Emissions Reductions Targets) (Scotland) Bill faces a key vote in the Scottish Parliament tomorrow.

The Bill sets the goal of “net-zero” greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 and a 90 per cent reduction by 2040.

The Greens want the legislation toughened up to include a target of an 80 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030, with campaigners including Stop Climate Chaos and Friends of the Earth Scotland backing the call.

Greens climate change spokesman Mark Ruskell has insisted the targets don’t go far enough. He said: “Climate scientists have been clear that we have just a decade to turn this around.

“Championing eye-catching targets that won’t bite for decades while continuing to spend millions on new motorways and back maximum extraction of fossil fuels just won’t cut it anymore.

“The most important part of this Bill is the 2030 target because it will have a direct impact on what we do now, and because scientific evidence tells us the next 10 years are absolutely crucial.”

He added: “Talk of ‘world-leading targets’ is cheap. If Scotland is to lead it needs to be bolder.

“Look at Finland, which has pledged to be completely carbon-neutral by 2035. That’s what happens when Greens are in government.

“Unless the SNP listens to young people and climate scientists and uses this Bill to provoke transformative action now by adopting an 80 per cent target by 2030, Scottish Greens cannot in all good conscience back the Climate Bill.”

The Greens will propose changes to the Bill that would force the Scottish Government to improve the energy efficiency of Scotland’s housing.

The Liberal Democrats have already called for the emissions targets to be strengthened. Instead of the 70 per cent cut by 2030 as progress towards net-zero emissions, the party wants this increased to 75 per cent.

“The transition to a net zero country needs to be quicker. Early action to cut emissions is critical to stopping irreversible damage to our environment,” said Lib Dem climate change spokesman Liam McArthur at the weekend.

“As the placards say, there is no planet B.

“This is both a credible and ambitious proposal to increase Scotland’s climate change targets.”

Nicola Sturgeon has already said a “climate emergency” is looming.

The Scottish Government has previously insisted it is “leading by example” through its actions to address the matter.

A spokesman has said previously that the climate emergency and a green new deal for Scotland are at the centre of the SNP’s programme for government.

The Greens’ decision came after thousands of young people in Scotland joined millions of others as part of a global climate strike on Friday with marches held in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen.

The protests were part of a global day of action, inspired by 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg after a series of school strikes last year.