Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow, has warned Scottish Government ministers ‘to wake up to the challenge’ of cutting climate emissions of 5 million tonnes of greenhouse gases as tougher targets appear on the horizon.
The leader of the Scottish Green party issued the warning after the government announced that Scotland has missed – for the third year in a row – the target set out in the 2009 Climate Change Act and that Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions rose by 400,000 tonnes between 2011 and 2012.
The 2012 target was for a 178,000 tonne drop in emissions. The next target, for 2013, will now require a drop from 55.7 million tonnes to 47.9 million tonnes – almost 8 million tonnes. He said:
“It’s deeply concerning that after years of self-congratulation for setting ambitious targets, Scotland has now missed the first three in a row.
“There is no doubt that the Scottish Government could have been taking bolder action for years now to cut energy waste in the home, tackle congestion and help shift toward greener transport, or any number of other steps to cut our emissions. “Ministers have been telling us that their current policies would be enough to meet the targets – and now we’re being told the same thing yet again.
“It is noteable that all the positive ideas seem to be coming from the environmental NGOs and the opposition parties, with Scottish Government now playing catch-up. The tough reality is that the first three annual targets were the easy ones – and these are the ones the Government has missed.
“The next annual target is the first which demands a really big cut of over 5 million tonnes, and there is little sign that the Government understands the scale of the challenge that lies ahead.”
Gina Hanrahan from the Stop Climate Chaos Scotland group, added: “It’s been a difficult start to the implementation of the Climate Change Act, but the Scottish Government’s package of new measures across different sectors such as energy efficiency, low carbon travel and district heating looks promising.”
Climate Change targets: