Report urges new policy actions and funding to deliver Scotland’s net zero emissions target

A report by published by Vivid Economics and commissioned by WWF Scotland on 24 October has called for greater government investment in buildings, transport and industry to help Scotland meet its climate targets. Delivering on Net Zero: Next Steps for Scotland makes several key recommendations for these sectors.

The buildings sector needs to almost completely decarbonise, reducing emissions by 87% from today, to achieve net zero by 2045. A holistic approach to achieving zero carbon buildings is required, with households representing the majority of emissions.

The report recommends:

  • significantly expanding Scottish Government funding for energy efficiency and renewables heat, and
  • deploying local strategies and a national plan to regulate out fossil fuel heating, and
  • implementing net zero standards for new builds as early as practical.

Early support could be focused on off-gas and social housing. The report also highlights the Dutch net zero programme Energiesprong, which could be a model for Scotland for large-scale whole house refurbishments.

The Scottish transport sector will need to reduce emissions by about 5% annually to meet net zero targets.

The report recommends:

  • the Scottish Government, together with city councils, to encourage city-level Zero Emissions Zones that phase in bans to internal combustion engines by 2030
  • Scottish Government-mandated procurement of zero emissions vehicles for all new publicly owned vehicles or publicly contracted transport services to ensure the required pace of transition, and
  • public procurement for road transport to reduce emissions and stimulate demand for infrastructure, such as charging stations.

The report also recommends the Scottish Government mandates low-carbon procurement of ferries for all new ferries and the development of a Scottish strategy to decarbonise coastal shipping emissions.

Scottish industry currently emits 11 MtCO2e, which will need to be reduced to approximately 2 MtCO2e by 2045 for Scotland to reach net zero emissions. The Scottish Government can focus on market-based mechanisms such as: provision of low-cost capital, provision of infrastructure with a public benefit and provision of a clear, long-term industrial hydrogen strategy. A Scottish industrial hydrogen strategy should encourage industrial demonstration projects.

Other recommendations include: the development of Scottish carbon capture & storage (CCS) by providing capital funding while UK-wide CCS policy is developed.

The resource costs of net zero are 1-3% of Scottish GDP annually – £2-5bn a year. Significant additional investment, and redirection of existing investment, will be required to meet this cost. Public fiscal support is particularly important in the short term to meet net zero resource costs.

WWF

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