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Scotland Should Maintain High Ambitions To Deliver 61% Emissions Reduction By 2030

The UK Committee on Climate Change has concluded that Scotland should maintain its high ambition toward reduction of greenhouse gases moving forward.

CCC-3In a new report published this week by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), Scottish emissions targets 2028-2032, the authors concluded that the Scottish Government should attempt to maintain its high ambition pathway towards greenhouse gas emissions reductions of at least 80% by 2050 to stay on track to reduce emissions by 61% by 2030 over 1990 levels.

This would go beyond the UK ambition for that period. It is achievable and in line with the Act and the global shift towards higher ambition implied by the Paris Agreement.

The authors of the report note that “Scotland has more ambitious climate targets than the UK as a whole” — as has been quite clearly seen over the past two years, in which Scotland has distanced itself both in language and action from Greater Britain’s woefully inadequate policy shifts and reworkings. The recommendations made in the report “reflect the requirement in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act for targets from 2020 to fall by at least 3% each year,” and differ by 4% from the recommendations made in the UK’s fifth carbon budget. The Committee also recommended that Scotland revise its targets for 2017-2027 to better reflect the latest scientific evidence, and to align them with new accounting rules for the European Unions Emissions Trading System.

And though, as the authors note, “these are stretching targets,” Scotland’s past progress puts the country in good stead to achieve these recommendations. In 2013, emissions in Scotland had fallen by 38% from 1990 levels, and the country is currently on track to exceed the target 42% reduction from 1990 levels by 2020. Nevertheless, Scotland will have to stretch to push beyond expectation, and require strong action, such as the following points laid out by the CCC:

  • Low-carbon heat in about 30% of homes by 2030 with widespread uptake of heat pumps, low-carbon heat networks, domestic insulation and energy efficiency measures. There is a particular opportunity for cost-effective investment in low-carbon heat and energy efficiency measures in rural and off-grid areas, helping to reduce fuel poverty.
  • Low emission (e.g. electric) vehicles comprising about 65% of new car and van sales by 2030. The Committee has carefully considered the rural areas of Scotland in this analysis, with plug-in hybrid vehicles likely to be more suitable than battery electric in some rural regions.
  • Afforestation involving 16,000 hectares per year of new forest planting.
  • Electricity decarbonization to reduce emissions from 220 gCO2/kWh to below Scotland’s legislated target of 50 gCO2/kWh. This is achievable given the very large potential for expanding renewable power and shutdown of coal power.

“Scotland is leading the UK in its ambitious approach to tackling climate change and is to be commended for doing so,” said Lord Deben, Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change. “There is a lot of positive action already underway in Scotland, driven by both its vibrant renewable sector and its bold policy approaches. This must now be accelerated. New policies will be required to meet these ambitious but achievable carbon objectives. With these actions Scotland can continue as an example to the rest of the UK in its approach to address climate change.”

“We welcome the UK Climate Change Committee’s clear advice that Scotland must reduce its carbon emissions by 61% by 2030,” said Jim Densham, from Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, who commented on the news. “However, the Committee’s report spells out that if we are to hit these new targets we will need to see strong action and new policies from the Scottish Government.”

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