Scots urged to get measure of climate issue

MORE must be done to monitor how well Scotland is performing in its ambitious efforts to cut greenhouse gases, campaigners have warned.

The Scottish Government has set a target to cut emissions by 42 per cent by 2020 and 80 per cent by 2050, compared to levels in 1990-95 - the most ambitious target in the developed world.

Scotland's 2020 Climate Group has now published guidelines on what it believes needs to be measured to make sure the country is on track to deliver on this commitment.

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The group, made up of senior business and civic leaders, said it was "crucial" that Scotland kept watch on the progress being made in areas such as cutting household waste and using "greener" transport.

Last week, the Scottish Government published its report on proposals and policies (RPP) - a roadmap for delivering on the greenhouse gas reduction pledge.

The 2020 Climate Group will give evidence to MSPs on the report and hopes to help inform the debate with a list of so-called key performance indicators (KPIs) it believes are needed to track how well Scotland is performing.

The KPIs include measuring household waste and energy use, monitoring the level of journeys made by bus, train, bike or foot, and looking at the volume of Scottish-produced food and drink consumed in Scotland. Ian Marchant, convener of the 2020 Climate Group and chief executive of energy firm SSE, said: "The RPP demonstrates that existing and identified Scottish policies can deliver the required 42 per cent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

"The real issue now is how we do it and that's what the KPIs are about.

"It is crucial that we lay down benchmarks on how Scotland is doing - in everything from domestic energy consumption, the amount of waste we generate and how we travel."

Professor Jan Bebbington, from the Sustainable Development Commission and a member of the group, said: "The 2020 group is setting out milestones that will not only deliver reductions in greenhouse gas emissions but will lead to substantial gains in terms of wider social, economic and health issues."

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "Our world-leading targets, to reduce emissions by 42 per cent by 2020 and by at least 80 per cent by 2050, are driving new thinking, new technologies, new solutions and new investment.

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"We need to start looking at the things that we all need to do less of in the future; and the things that we need to do more of. Our report on proposals and policies is the starting point and we look forward to these issues being debated over the next few months.

"We welcome the 2020 climate group's commitment to engaging in that debate."