Holyrood pledges 66% cut in greenhouse gas

The Scottish Government has published detailed proposals of a plan to achieve a 66% reduction in Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2032.

Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Roseanna Cunningham said Holyrood’s draft Climate Change Plan demonstrated “a new level of ambition” in its work to build a prosperous low carbon economy.

Scottish Conservative shadow secretary for climate change Maurice Golden argued however that the climate change plan had no firm proposal to deal with reducing transport emissions.

The Scottish Government said Scotland already exceeded its 2020 climate change target by achieving a 42% reduction in emissions six years early.

It said the new proposals could lead to wide-ranging changes in transport, logistics, buildings, heating, power, agriculture and land management.

The draft plan sets out that by 2032:

• Scotland will have a fully decarbonised electricity sector able to remove CO2 from the atmosphere
• 80% of domestic heat will be provided by low carbon heat technologies
• The proportion of ultra-low emission new cars and vans registered in Scotland annually will reach at least 40%
• 250,000 hectares of degraded peatlands will be restored (against 1990 levels)
• Annual woodland creation target will have been increased to create at least 15,000 hectares per year

Cunningham said: “Our proposals for further deep cuts in emissions represent a new level of ambition which will help maintain Scotland’s reputation as a climate leader within the international community.

“But it will be the judgement of our children, grandchildren and, indeed, future generations which matters most.

“In the years ahead, I want our young people to be able to look back and take pride in what we have achieved.

“The transition to a low carbon economy offers important opportunities for Scotland — thanks to our highly skilled workforce, the strength of our research institutions and, of course, our natural resources.

“The Scottish Government’s ambitions are clear, but we have now reached a point in our journey where future progress will require the support of individuals, organisations and businesses across the country.”

The Scottish Conservatives’ Golden said: “What was clear from today’s statement is that there are still no firm plans to deal with reducing transport emissions.

“While it’s welcome that we’ve made progress in reducing emissions in other sectors, the damage being caused by transport is still similar to the levels that we saw decades ago.

“To make matters worse the SNP have chosen to slash the funding going towards making our transport more efficient, in addition to underfunding the programme for improving home energy efficiency.

“Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our age and we need to be do everything we can in our power to minimise its effects, not cut the money going towards these sectors.

“We welcome the ambition of this plan, but if we are ever going to hit the new 2032 emissions target then the SNP need to realise that we will need to provide far more funding to these key areas.”