A new target to cut greenhouse gas emissions in Scotland by 90% by 2050 – announced by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon – is the most ambitious climate-change goal in the world
The new Climate Change Bill will set an immediate target of a 90% reduction by 2050, which the UK Committee on Climate Change (UK CCC) states is currently “at the limit of feasibility.”
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.
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.
The new interim targets will be 56% by 2020, 66% by 2030, and 78% by 2040.
Scottish Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham, said: 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.
“The fight against climate change is a moral responsibility but Scotland’s academic and engineering expertise, coupled with our outstanding natural resources, mean it is also an economic opportunity.”
Andy Kerr, Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation (ECCI) and Professor of Low Carbon and Climate Innovation at Edinburgh University, commented:
“This Bill sets out increased ambition for emissions reductions in law and simplifies our climate targets, both of which are hugely positive steps.
“Scotland leads the world in climate action, but progress so far has been heavily reliant on easy wins such as increasing renewable energy and reducing waste.
“The challenge now is how we bring about transformational change in areas such as internal heating and transport in ways that bring huge benefits across our economy and society.
“The ambition is there, and technological solutions are ready and waiting – now Scotland must rise to the challenge of moving to a clean, thriving economy.”
25 May 2018