Scotland toughens up on greenhouse gas emissions

Scottish government has published a new climate change legislation under which it commits to target 90% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Illustration (Photo: Pixabay)

The new Climate Change Bill immediately sets a target of a 90% reduction by 2050, which the UK Committee on Climate Change (UK CCC) states is currently ‘at the limit of feasibility’, according to the Scottish government.

The draft Bill sets out that the Scottish government intends to go further still and achieve a 100% reduction in emissions, known as ‘net-zero’, as soon as possible.

Ministers will be legally required to keep the net-zero target date under review by seeking expert advice on the issue every five years. The target date will become legally-binding, subject to the consent of the Scottish Parliament, as soon as there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate the date is credible and achievable, the government said.

As well as increasing long term ambition, the new Bill also includes the most ambitious interim targets in the world, as well as stretching annual targets for every year between now and 2050. This means action will need to increase immediately, across every sector of the Scottish economy. It will also require action by individuals, communities and businesses – as well as government.

Roseanna Cunningham, Scotland’s Climate Change Secretary, said: “Our Climate Change Bill sets out our commitment to reduce emissions by 100% with ambitious interim targets which strengthen Scotland’s world-leading position on climate change.

“Our 90% target will be tougher even than the 100% goal set by a handful of other countries, because our legislation will set more demanding, legally-binding, annual targets covering every sector of our economy.

“By 2030, we will cut emissions by two-thirds and, unlike other nations, we will not use carbon offsetting, where other countries are paid to cut emissions for us, to achieve our goal.”

Scotland’s existing targets are for a 42% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and an 80% reduction by 2050. The new interim targets will be 56% by 2020, 66% by 2030, and 78% by 2040, the government informed.

Renewable energy industry welcomes the Bill

Responding to the Scottish government’s publication of its Climate Change Bill, Claire Mack, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables, said:

“Countries around the world are looking to increase their climate change targets to deliver the ambition of the Paris Agreement, so it is right that Scotland does so too.

“Renewable energy will play a crucial part in this and the recent falls in cost for offshore and onshore wind in Scotland and the UK show what is possible with the right long-term policies.

“While this Bill continues to show Scotland’s ambition, we would urge Ministers and Parliament to set a date for delivering net zero emissions and to remain a world leader in the fight against climate change.”