Scotland to scrap its 2030 climate target

18th April 2024


The Scottish government has today conceded that its goal to reduce carbon emissions by 75% by 2030 is now “out of reach” following analysis by the Climate Change Committee (CCC).

This comes amid a “challenging context of cuts and UK backtracking”, according to Scotland's cabinet secretary for wellbeing economy, net zero and energy, Màiri McAllan, who delivered the statement in Holyrood this afternoon.

However, she reaffirmed the country’s legal commitment to deliver net-zero emissions by 2045 – which is five years earlier than the rest of the UK – and also unveiled a new package of climate action measures.

The development comes after the CCC warned last month that Scotland’s target to cut emissions by 75% by 2030, relative to 1990 levels, is “beyond what is credible” following a "slippage in promised climate policies".

McAllan said: “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 scale that is feasible, fair and just.

“The Scottish government will bring forward expedited legislation to address matters raised by the CCC and ensure our legislative framework better reflects the reality of long-term climate policymaking.”

Her statement included a commitment for Scotland to install 24,000 additional charge points for electric vehicles by 2030 to help ease any remaining ‘range-anxiety’ people still feel.

The government will also pilot a scheme for farmers to increase uptake of methane-suppressing feed products or additives for livestock, with carbon audits required by all farms receiving public support by 2028.

Furthermore, it will launch a consultation on a carbon land tax on the largest estates to further incentivise peatland restoration, afforestation and renewable energy production.

However, this did little to dispel the disappointment felt by many green groups, with today’s announcement a blow to Scotland’s reputation as a leader on climate action.

“This decision shows that laudable targets mean nothing if they’re not backed by credible policies to deliver,” said Dave Hawkey, senior research fellow at the Institute for Public Policy Research.

“Scotland’s consistent failure to meet its climate targets reveals the gap between the Scottish government’s words and the actions we need to reach net zero.

“For all the Scottish government’s strategies and visions, tangible progress decarbonising the everyday economy – how we heat our homes, how we get around, and the food we eat – has been glacial.”

Image credit: Shutterstock

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