Climate Action

Scotland sets a new 90% carbon reduction target

A draft bill put before the Scottish Parliament has set a goal of reducing carbon emissions to almost zero by 2050.

  • 24 May 2018
  • Adam Wentworth

A draft bill put before the Scottish Parliament has set a goal of reducing carbon emissions to almost zero by 2050.

The 90 percent reduction target is an increase on the current 80 percent level set by the UK-wide Climate Change Act in 2008.

The Scottish Government also added that a 100 percent, or net zero, target will be reviewed and implemented as soon as possible.

Its interim targets are also set to change by the new bill, which the government described as the most ambitious in the world. Its existing targets see a 42 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, which now increase to 56 percent within two years, and 66 percent by 2030.

Latest analysis has shown that as of 2015 Scotland had managed to reduce its carbon emissions by 38 percent below 1990 levels. The new target means much stronger action will be required from all sections of society.

Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said the bill will become legally binding and cover all aspects of the economy.

“The fight against climate change is a moral responsibility but Scotland’s academic and engineering expertise, coupled with our outstanding natural resources, mean it is also an economic opportunity.”

“Climate change is one of the defining challenges of our age and Scotland’s international leadership means our plans must be ambitious, credible and affordable – which is exactly what the new Climate Change Bill delivers,” she added.

Despite these strong words, some environmentalists expressed disappointment that the bill didn’t go further. Tom Ballantine, Chair of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland said the Scottish Government “has failed to live up to its own rhetoric on global climate change leadership, by failing to set a net zero emissions target in the Climate Change Bill published today.”

“As it stands, this Bill does not deliver on the Paris Agreement, and it does not deliver climate justice to those who are already feeling the devastating impacts of climate change.”

Earlier this year, WWF Scotland published analysis which showed the carbon footprint of Scottish households had fallen by 25 percent since 2009.


Photo Credit: Colin/Wikimedia Commons