January 29, 2023

The Scottish government has no clear plan to meet its climate targets, the Climate Change Committee warned in a report that found the country had lost its lead over the rest of the UK in cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Scotland’s progress in cutting emissions had “largely stalled” in recent years, the government’s advisory body said on Wednesday. There was a “significant risk” that it would miss its interim climate targets in the 2020s and into 2030, it added.

The Scottish Government “lacks a clear delivery plan and has not provided a coherent explanation for how its policies will achieve Scotland’s bold emissions reduction targets,” the report said, adding: “The integrity of Scotland’s climate framework is now at risk.”

Governments around the world are increasingly scrutinized on their steps to tackle climate change. The UK has come under increasing pressure from the CCC over what the group has characterized as insufficient progress towards and planning for emissions reduction targets.

Scotland has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 75 per cent from 1990 levels by 2030, and to reach net zero emissions by 2045, going beyond the UK government’s commitment to reach net zero by 2050 .

John Gummer, also known as Lord Deben, chairman of the CCC, said his request a year ago for “greater clarity and transparency about Scotland’s climate policy and its implementation. . . remains unanswered”.

While Scotland’s emissions fell by 12 per cent between 2019 and 2020, the reduction was largely due to the effect of the Covid pandemic – when pollution levels in certain sectors ground to a halt or receded due to parts of the industry shutting down. economy — the CCC said Wednesday.

“Scotland’s lead over the rest of the UK in decarbonisation has now been lost,” the climate advisers said, adding that progress was now roughly in line with that in other parts of the UK.

The CCC said in 2019 that Scotland would be able to reach net-zero emissions by 2045, ahead of the UK, because it had a “larger land area per person” and “significant” carbon storage potential.

A lack of cooperative planning undermined Scotland’s efforts to meet its short-term climate targets, the CCC said. It recommended that Edinburgh and the UK government work more closely together to decarbonise key sectors and to develop greenhouse gas abatement technologies.

The advisory group noted that the 2030 target “goes significantly beyond our guidance” and that it would be “extremely challenging” to meet. A reduction of between 65 and 67 percent by 2030 was “consistent” with the net zero target for 2045, the group said.

Under Scotland’s Climate Change Act 2019, Edinburgh is legally required to make up for any shortfalls on the 2020 and 2030 targets by cutting faster later on. Failure to meet the targets can also lead to legal action against the government.

Michael Matheson, Scotland’s Net Zero Secretary, said the report was “a timely reminder of the magnitude of the challenge facing government, industry and civil society”.

He added that the country was “entering the most challenging part of the journey so far” and that in many areas progress in reducing emissions was “dependent on UK government decisions”.

“They haven’t gone far enough, not fast enough,” he said. The Scottish Government is developing a climate plan for the period up to 2040.

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