Within hours of the UK’s Committee on Climate Change publishing its long-awaited review into the feasibility of setting a new net-zero emission target, Scotland’s government announced it had lodged amendments to its Climate Change Bill to set a legally binding target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 at the latest with Scotland becoming carbon neutral by 2040.
The UK’s Committee on Climate Change announced Thursday that the UK can end its contribution to global warming within 30 years by setting a new ambitious target to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050 — covered in more depth here.
In addition to the country’s new net-zero target, Scotland will reduce emissions by 70% by 2030 and 90% by 2040 — the most ambitious statutory targets in the world for these years.
“There is a global climate emergency and people across Scotland have been calling, rightly, for more ambition to tackle it and safeguard our planet for future generations,” said Scottish Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham.
“Having received independent, expert advice that even higher targets are now possible, and given the urgency required on this issue, I have acted immediately to set a target for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions for 2045 which will see Scotland become carbon neutral by 2040.
“I have been consistently clear that our targets must be ambitious, credible and responsible. We must take an evidence-based approach and balance our climate, economic and social responsibilities. We have already halved greenhouse gas emissions from Scotland while growing the economy, so we know we can do it. I am committed to meeting the most ambitious targets possible, and doing so while continuing to build an inclusive and fair economy.
“Every single one of us now needs to take more action – not just the Scottish Government but also all businesses, schools, communities, individuals and organisations. The UK Government must also act.” – Cunningham
The move was unsurprisingly praised by climate and environmental groups.
“It’s great to see the Scottish Government responding to today’s advice and committing to net-zero by 2045,” said Mike Robinson, Board member of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland.
“As the First Minister recognised last weekend, we are in the grip of a climate emergency and those at the frontline are already suffering. Enshrining this commitment in law puts Scotland amongst the leading group of nations in the world in terms of ambition on climate change, but should now be followed by accelerated immediate action across the board.
“Rapidly growing public concern about climate change is sending a strong message to all politicians that rhetoric alone isn’t enough and has to be matched with swift and decisive action. It’s now up to MSPs to show they are listening to public concern by strengthening the Climate Bill to urgently ramp up policy action now and over the next decade. Tackling climate change is our moral obligation, but this report shows it is also possible and affordable. We know we can build on early progress to deliver. It means huge benefits such as warmer homes, cleaner air, better health, skilled jobs and a flourishing countryside and can be done in fair way that enhances the lives of workers and communities across Scotland.” – Robinson
Featured image credit: Hywind