Scottish government 'to axe' key climate change target

According to experts, the Scottish Government will axe one of its key climate change target
According to experts, the Scottish Government will axe one of its key climate change target -Credit:Jane Barlow/PA Wire

The Scottish government is expected to ditch its flagship target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 75% by 2030, according to reports.

Ministers have missed eight of the last 12 annual emissions targets, with experts claiming it is now impossible for the country to meet the 75% milestone by the end of the decade, BBC Scotland reported.

However, the final goal of reaching net-zero by 2045 is expected to remain.

A statement is expected to be made in Holyrood on April 18.

The CCC has previously warned that Scotland had lost its lead over the rest of the UK in tackling the issue and last year ministers failed to publish a plan which was required under the act to detail how they would meet the targets.

Màiri McAllan, the Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, is due to address MSPs on Thursday when she will set out the government’s response to the damning report by the CCC.

The minister has already said she is exploring legislative options.

In a damning report published in March Chris Stark, chief executive of the Climate Change Committee branded the Scottish Government's climate plans “a failure” and claimed they were "too stretching.”

Scientists have already warned that this is a crucial decade for keeping global warming below 1.5C, a goal world leaders agreed to in 2015.

The 2030 target is only six years away and the Scottish Government failed to publish its draft Climate Change Plan in late 2023 as planned.

The main concerns in the report included current overall policies and plans in Scotland falling short of what is needed and that current targets are no longer possible to achieve in the time frame provided.

Chris Stark said: "That is a failure of the Scottish government to bring to the Scottish people, and the Scottish Parliament, a climate change plan that is fit for purpose.

"This is the first time, anywhere in the UK, that we've said there's a target that can't be met. It's a shame we have to give that message to the Scottish government but what's behind it is a lack of progress all around."

The Scottish Parliament legislated to cut greenhouse gases by 75% compared with the UK's target of 68% by the same date and Scotland's emissions reduction target for 2030 is harsher than the UK's as a whole.

Jamie Livingstone, Head of Oxfam Scotland, also slammed the decision and said: “With the world becoming a dirtier and deadlier place every day, any decision by Scottish Ministers to re-write Scotland’s climate rulebook would be an acute global embarrassment.

"It would also be the direct and damaging consequence of the Scottish Government’s own dilly-dallying on climate action

“Ministers and MSPs from every party in the Scottish Parliament should instead be focused on securing the significant funds required to invest right now in faster climate action through fair tax reforms which protect the worst off and incentivise polluters to clean up their acts.

“Anything less and Scotland will deliver yet another body blow to climate-hit communities while risking a dangerous race to the bottom on global climate ambition.”

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s head of campaigns Imogen Dow said: “If the SNP and Green Ministers choose to scrap these vital climate commitments, it would be the worst environmental decision in the history of the Scottish Parliament.

"The 2030 target could and should have been met, but instead it looks like politicians are going to break their promises and betray both their constituents and the most vulnerable people on the frontlines of climate breakdown.

“These climate targets are based on what climate science says Scotland must do as part of a global effort to limit dangerous warming. Politicians right across the spectrum made a promise to the people of Scotland by voting for strong 2030 targets so they must be willing to work together to back the transformative ideas that improve lives and cut climate pollution."

Scottish Greens climate spokesperson Mark Ruskell MSP said: “We are absolutely determined to accelerate the urgent and substantial action needed to tackle the climate crisis as laid out by the CCC recently, and fully expect the Scottish Government to respond to that challenge.”

“This is a pivotal moment for us to ramp up the kind of meaningful change that will put us on track to achieve net zero by 2045 at the latest, in the face of a complete reversal of climate action from the UK Government.”

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