‘Bitterly disappointing’: Scotland abandons 2030 climate goal citing credibility concerns

The Scottish Government has ditched its target of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 75% by 2030 after a recent report revealed that the goal is ‘no longer credible’; nevertheless, the Government remains committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2045.

‘Bitterly disappointing’: Scotland abandons 2030 climate goal citing credibility concerns

Scotland was the first government globally to declare a climate emergency.

Today (18 April), the Secretary for Wellbeing Economy, Net Zero and Energy, Mairi McAllan, announced the decision to scrap the nation’s flagship interim goal in a statement to the parliament.

This comes in response to the Climate Change Committee (CCC)’s latest report revealing that there’s ‘no comprehensive strategy for Scotland to decarbonise towards net-zero’, and as such its statutory goal to reduce 75% emissions by 2030 is beyond achievable.

McAllan said: “In this challenging context of cuts and UK backtracking, we accept the CCCs recent re-articulation that this parliament’s interim 2030 target is out of reach.

“We must now act to chart a course to 2045 at a pace and a scale that is feasible, fair and just.”

McAllan confirmed that the Scottish Government will collaborate with parliament to expedite legislation addressing concerns raised by the CCC regarding long-term climate policy. The proposed bill will maintain the legal commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2045 while introducing a target system based on five-year carbon budgets, with annual progress reporting.

CCC’s interim chair Professor Piers Forster said: “The removal of Scotland’s 2030 target, announced by the Scottish Government today, is deeply disappointing.

“Long-term planning is vital for businesses, citizens and future Parliaments. Today that has been undermined. The Committee urges the Scottish Government to lay and deliver against new commitments as soon as possible.”

Scotland was the first government globally to declare a climate emergency. Nevertheless, since that declaration, Scotland has failed to meet eight out of the last 12 yearly targets for reducing its GHG emissions.

McAllan attributed the hindrance of Scottish Government efforts to the UK Government’s reversal of net-zero commitments, stringent budget constraints and the limitations imposed by devolution.

In December of last year, the Government published its annual budget, stating that Scotland’s ability to fund the low-carbon transition for heat, buildings and transport has been “particularly impacted” by changes made in Westminster.

This included rollbacks on energy efficiency requirements for landlords, fossil fuel boiler phase-outs and electric vehicle (EV) sales announced by UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak last year.

However, leaders in the green economy sector have criticised the Government, asserting that solely blaming Westminster will not drive forward Scotland’s climate progress and emphasising that the Government must take actionable steps within its jurisdiction to expedite its climate efforts.

Industry reaction

Lang Banks, director, WWF Scotland said:

“It’s bitterly disappointing that Scottish Government’s delays in delivering its own policies, over many years, has led to this announcement.

“We now need to see the emergency response from government that is required to put our climate ambitions back on track. It’s welcome to hear Ministers reiterate their commitment to tackling climate change and the policies that have been proposed today.

“However, the real test is how quickly these, and existing commitments, are turned into reality to start delivering real benefits for people like warmer homes, healthier air and supporting more farmers to adopt climate and nature-friendly practices.”

Will Walker, UK policy lead, Ashden said:

“The fact that Scotland is missing an ambitious climate target for 2030 does not look good. But instead of this becoming another front in a net zero culture war, we should remain focused on the massive economic benefits of getting back on track.

“Government is responsible for missing these targets – leadership and policy failures can be traced back to both Holyrood and Westminster – but it is the people, communities, SMEs and ultimately, UK public, that will lose out if we do not accelerate on net-zero.

“Local climate action is what people want, it is cheaper, fairer and brings greater benefits. It is essential if we are to deliver a just transition for our communities.”

Comments (2)

  1. susan Hunter says:

    This comment has been removed by the commenter.

  2. Richard Phillips says:

    The art of politics is not one which asks scientific questions.
    The divide seems ever there.

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