Scots to reduce emissions by 66%
Scotland wants to reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions by 66% by 2032 against 1990 levels and deliver half of the energy required for heating, transport and electricity from renewable sources by 2030.
The Holyrood government said, having already exceeded its 2020 climate change target by achieving a 42% cut in GHG emissions, its draft climate change plan demonstrated ‘a new level of ambition’ to build a prosperous, low-carbon economy.
Cabinet secretary for environment, climate change and land reform Roseanna Cunningham said the commitment to further deep cuts in emissions would help to maintain Scotland’s reputation as a climate leader and she urged businesses and communities to support this.
‘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,’ she said.
The draft plan for 2032 entails fully decarbonising the electricity sector in Scotland, producing 80% of domestic heat from low-carbon technologies and increasing the proportion of ultra-low emission new cars and vans registered in Scotland by at least 40% a year.
The administration also wants to restore 2,500 sq km of degraded peatlands and create new woodland of at least 150 sq km each year.
The government has also unveiled a target to deliver half of the energy required for Scotland’s heat, transport and electricity needs from renewable sources by 2030 as part of a consultation on the nation’s first energy strategy.
The government said the draft climate change plan and energy strategy together provided the strategic framework for Scotland to transition to a low-carbon future.
‘Achieving our vision is also crucial to efforts to tackle fuel poverty and to prevent the damaging effects of climate change as part of the global community’s fight to limit global temperature increases to 2°C or less,’ said business, innovation and energy minister Paul Wheelhouse.
Business and environmental groups welcomed the proposals. Trade body Solar Trade Association Scotland said the publication of the two plans showed a strong commitment from the government to tackling climate change and decarbonising Scotland’s energy market.
Nick Molho, executive director of sustainability alliance the Aldersgate Group, described the measures as bold and said: ‘The proposal for 50% of all energy to be generated from renewables by 2030 will set an important long-term signal that businesses can respond to with affordable investment and innovation.’
Meanwhile, the UK government has published its second risk assessment, highlighting the challenges facing the UK economy, environment and public health from climate change. It endorses the six priority risk areas identified in the July 2016 report from the adaptation sub-committee of the independent Committee on Climate Change.
These are: flooding and coastal change; effects of high temperatures on health and wellbeing; water shortages; harm to natural capital; damage to food production and trade; and the problems posed by pests and diseases and invasive non-native species.
The assessment notes that average temperatures in the UK have risen by around 1°C over the past 100 years, and there is trend towards milder winters and warmer summers, while rainfall patterns have changed and sea levels have increased by around 3 mm a year.
‘The latest assessment will help us develop our long-term programme to tackle these risks so we can continue our work to protect the nation better today and for future generations,’ said Defra minister Lord Gardiner.
The government said it would publish the National Adaptation Programme in 2018 and that the environment department had commissioned the Met Office Hadley Centre to produce an updated set of UK climate projections (UKCP18) next year.
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