Edinburgh climate activists gather outside Bute House after Scottish Government 'abandons target'

Climate activists gathered outside Bute House on Tuesday
Climate activists gathered outside Bute House on Tuesday -Credit:Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

First Minister Humza Yousaf has been told to take responsibility for the Scottish Government's "colossal failure" on climate change as environmentalists protest outside his official residence.

Friends of the Earth (FOE) Scotland are among the climate campaigners demanding action outside Bute House in Edinburgh today (April 23), after it was confirmed last week that the Scottish Government would abandon its 2030 target to reduce emissions by 75 per cent.

The protest comes on the same day that Chris Stark, chief executive of the Climate Change Committee (CCC), expressed doubt on whether the target to reduce the number of kilometres travelled by car by 20 per cent by 2030 would be met.

READ MORE - Mum thanks medics who flew premature son to Edinburgh hospital for treatment

READ MORE - Statue for legendary Edinburgh fundraiser Tom Gilzean unveiled on the Royal Mile

Mr Yousaf has told journalists he hears and listens to the concerns of climate activists, but said the Scottish Government ambition for net zero by 2045 remains essential. However, campaigners will urge the First Minister and his Government "not to backtrack on its climate commitments".

FOE Scotland campaigner Caroline Rance said: "People are rightly angry that Humza Yousaf's government plans to break its climate promise and slow down action in this crucial debate. Climate science is clear that we cannot allow that to happen.

"The Scottish Government's repeated failure to act has meant not only have they missed climate targets, but they have missed tangible opportunities to improve people's lives through providing good public transport, decent home insulation and creating good green jobs. The First Minister must take responsibility for this colossal climate failure because the desperately weak climate policy package announced last week offers no reassurance that his ministers are serious about getting us back on track."

Sign up for Edinburgh Live newsletters for more headlines straight to your inbox

Net Zero Secretary Mairi McAllan announced a new package of climate action measures last week, including trebling the number of electric vehicle charging points. Liz Murray, head of Scottish campaigns at Global Justice Now, said: "We are at the rally today to urge the First Minister and the Scottish Government not to backtrack on its climate commitments."

She said the Scottish Government was "shameful" for moving the "goalposts" instead of meeting the targets. Speaking to the media on Tuesday, Mr Yousaf said he welcomed the protesters "making their voices heard".

'People are rightly angry that Humza Yousaf's government plans to break its climate promise'
'People are rightly angry that Humza Yousaf's government plans to break its climate promise' -Credit:Jane Barlow/PA Wire

He added: "We do hear them, and we do listen to them.

"That 2030 target, moving away from it, has been exceptionally difficult, there's no two ways about it. It was always a stretch target. It was beyond the advice that was given to us by the independent Climate Change Committee.

Join Edinburgh Live's Whatsapp Community here and get the latest news sent straight to your messages.

"But what hasn't changed is our ambition. We're not moving a single day away from the 2045 target, let alone of course moving away from the action that we have to take."

He added his Government had "accelerated" action to tackle climate targets.