'Trend of failure': Scotland's climate goals jeapordised by underpowered policy, CCC warns

'Trend of failure': Scotland's climate goals jeapordised by
underpowered policy, CCC warns
'Trend of failure': Scotland's climate goals jeapordised by underpowered policy, CCC warns

Climate advisors warn Scotland is set to miss its interim climate goals due to lack of ambitious policy planning

The Scottish government has been accused of failing to follow up its world leading climate goals with a credible strategy setting out how it plans to achieve its ambitious emissions targets.

In a report published this morning, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) warned the devolved government has failed to quantify how its policies would deliver the emissions reductiond required to meet its climate targets, which it acknowledged were "among the most stretching in the world".

Scotland has a legally binding goal to deliver a 75 per cent reduction of its emissions by 2030 on 1990 levels, on the way to achieving net zero by 2045 - five years earlier than the UK target date of 2050.

However, today's report from the CCC warned "the Scottish Government urgently needs to provide a quantified plan for how its polices will combine to achieve the emissions reduction required to meet the challenging 2030 target". "The plan must detail how each of Scotland's ambitious milestones will be achieved," it added.

In the report, the CCC warned Scotland had failed to achieve seven out of 11 of its legal targets since the Scottish Climate Change Act become law in 2009, and said this "trend of failure will continue without urgent and strong action to deliver emissions reductions, starting now".

The CCC warned Scotland's ambitious 2030 climate target would require the Scottish government go over and above its previous advice, given the advisory body had concluded that a 65 to 67 per cent reduction in Scotland's emissions would be feasible by the end of this decade.  

The report echoed criticism from the Scottish government that a lack of coordination between the Scottish and UK governments could hamper efforts to deliver on climate goals across the board. But it also noted that the devolved administration has an important role to play in helping meet the UK's carbon targets, in particular through the management of peatlands and tree-planting.

The CCC said the UK's decision earlier this year to not pick a Scottish industrial hub as a priority project for 'track 1' funding for carbon capture and storage plans was "the most recent example" of the lack of coordination between Westminster and Holyrood on decarbonisation policy.

The exclusion of a Scottish project from the first phase of the industrial decarbonisation programme will hurt the development of green infrastructure and skills in the nation that has the most favourable geographic conditions for large-scale carbon storage, the report warned.

An assessment included in the report notes that between 2019 and 2020, emissions in Scotland fell by 12 per cent, dropping to roughly half levels observed in 1990. But the CCC warned the fall was driven largely by the unique conditions of the Covid-19 pandemic, and said it expected further analysis to show that Scottish emissions rebounded in 2021.

The report also urged the government to adjust its annual targets in light of the updated treatment of peatland emissions in an accounting methodology that was reset last year, warning Scotland's targets would be more difficult to achieve under the updated approach.

* This article was originally published here