Scotland needs to act more urgently on climate change – report

the clyde wind farm in the southern uplands of scotland near biggar
The Clyde wind farm in the Southern Uplands of Scotland near Biggar. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

Goal of cutting emissions by 90% before 2050 fails to address challenge, warns committee

— Nicola Sturgeon’s government needs to show much greater urgency in tackling climate change, a cross-party committee of the Scottish parliament has said.

The environment committee said the Scottish government’s goal of cutting emissions by 90% before 2050 failed to address the scale of the challenge. Instead, ministers should aim for a net zero target, where there are no additional emissions that affect the climate, MSPs said.

In a detailed report on the Scottish government’s climate bill, the committee said ministers needed to heed the latest advice from the International Panel on Climate Change, which called for global action to cap emissions at 1.5°C.

Achieving that target required much more radical and swifter action, the committee said. They said the scale of the changes to the way the economy operated to ensure emissions did not breach a 1.5°C increase was “unprecedented in human history”.

There needed to be “a greater urgency of action across all parts of government, across the public and private sectors and by individuals, to deliver the transformational change required.

“Climate change is an intergenerational justice issue and the committee believes we need to act now to help ensure future generations inherit a world that is sustainable.”

Scottish ministers insist their goal of reaching 90% by 2050 is a realistic target but said they could revise those targets after getting updated advice from the UK committee on climate change, an official body set up to advise the UK and devolved governments, due in May.

“We want to go further and achieve net-zero emissions for all greenhouse gases as soon as possible,” it said in a statement. “We’ll set a target date as soon as this can be done credibly and responsibly.”

The Holyrood committee’s criticisms increase pressure on the Scottish government to set tougher targets. Caroline Rance, a climate campaigner from Friends of the Earth Scotland, said ministers should also set much tougher emission reduction targets for 2030.

“Climate change is the most urgent and pressing crisis facing the world and Scotland’s targets for cutting emissions must reflect our commitment to meeting that challenge,” she said.

Protesters from the radical activist group Extinction Rebellion have targeted Holyrood twice in the past six weeks.

Calling for a net zero target of 2025, they staged a sit-in at Holyrood’s debating chamber in January and tried to mount a protest at first minister’s questions last Thursday, but were stopped by police.

The Scottish Greens and environmentalists were highly critical of the Scottish government’s progress on tackling carbon emissions from transport last week after the latest data showed levels of bus use and cycling were falling while car use and flights were increasing. Railway use had also gone up.


by Severin Carrell | The Guardian

 

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