LONDON: Scotland has just proposed a draft climate change plan to cut its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 66% by 2032, setting one of the world’s most ambitious reduction plans to tackle climate change.
The ambitious goal follows the target of reducing GHG emissions by 42% by 2020 compared to 1990, a target already met in 2014. Scotland also has a long-term target of cutting GHG by 80% by 2050.
“We are proud of the progress made by Scotland, one of the most ambitious members of the States & Regions Alliance,” says Libby Ferguson, States & Regions Director, The Climate Group. “The Scottish government has shown how climate leadership can improve both business prosperity and citizens’ wellbeing.
“At the same time, Scotland recognizes the need to go further, in light of the global commitments made in Paris and the strong economic case for moving towards net-zero emissions. They are demonstrating that with clear plans, policies and dedicated partners, even some of the world’s most ambitious climate targets can not only be met, but also exceeded.”
Scotland is a leading member of The Climate Group’s States & Regions Alliance, the collaborative space for sub-national governments to share best practices, develop new and ambitious policies and to increase transparency and measure progress on tackling climate change.
The government also wants renewable sources to generate the equivalent of 100% of the nation’s gross annual electricity consumption by 2020, and has already met its 2015 interim 50% target – as reported in the latest Compact of States and Regions Disclosure report.
Scotland also has an energy efficiency target to decrease energy use by12%, based on 2006, by 2020. It has invested £2 billion (US$2.46 billion) from 2013 to 2016 to help deliver emissions cuts, and is home to two of Europe’s biggest wind farms.
Wind power is one of the regions main economic and natural resources, having generated enough power for all of Scotland’s needs for 4 straight days last December – and last May, the government closed its last standing coal-fired power plant.
“Scotland has been a very active member of The Climate Group’s States & Regions Alliance for over a decade,” comments Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Scotland. “Being part of a huge global network of progressive governments gives us the confidence to set high ambition and deliver on that ambition.
“We were delighted to report through the Compact of States and Regions this year that Scotland has already exceeded its 2020 climate change target by achieving a 42% reduction in emissions six years early – and other Compact governments have also delivered early on their 2020 targets.
“We need to continue to step up global ambition and Scotland’s new draft Climate Change Plan raises ambitions higher still by setting out how we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 66% by 2032, compared to the 1990 baseline.”
In particular, the new draft plan proposes a fully-decarbonized electricity sector, with the aim of 40% of all new cars and vans registered annually being ultra-low emissions vehicles. The climate plan also aims for 80% of domestic heating to come from low carbon heat technologies, and it will restore 250,000 hectares of degraded peatlands – with additional 15,000 hectares of woodland created each year on top of the existing target.
The draft plan will be now scrutinized by the Scottish Parliament for 2 months, after which the final Climate Change Plan will be published. Later this year it will also set a Climate Change Bill to strengthen Scotland’s commitments by 2020.