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Climate Change Committee Progress Report: Scottish 2030 Emissions Targets No Longer Credible

The Climate Change Committee’s (CCC) latest report on Scotland’s progress towards its statutory climate change goals (to reduce emissions by 75% by 2030) concludes that it no longer believes the Scottish Government will meet those targets.

The CCC report highlighted a number of areas where improvement is required but did point out the positive impact of renewables, with electricity supply being one of only two sectors to reduce emissions in 2021.

Key points highlighted in the report included:

Missed Targets: Scotland has repeatedly missed annual emissions targets, and the publication of the draft Climate Change Plan has been delayed, resulting in a current lack of comprehensive strategies for meeting future emissions targets. Scotland’s emissions actually increased by 2.4% in 2021 and missed it’s annual legal target. This was the eighth time in 12 years that the target has been missed.

Urgent Action Needed: While the Scottish Government has ambitious targets and acknowledges the importance of public engagement and a just transition, there is a pressing need for action to deliver on these commitments.

Impossible Challenges Ahead? Meeting the 2030 emissions reduction target is becoming increasingly challenging, requiring a significant acceleration in emissions reduction efforts, by a factor of nine, particularly outside the electricity supply, aviation, and shipping sectors. The CCC does not believe this is credible.

Policy Gaps: Current policies and plans in Scotland fall short of what is needed to achieve legal targets under the Scottish Climate Change Act, with the most significant risks in areas such as transport, buildings, agriculture, land use, and waste management.

Call for Urgency: The Scottish Government must urgently publish the draft Climate Change Plan and implement policies to achieve emissions reduction targets. Key indicators of delivery progress, such as tree planting, peatland restoration, heat pump installations, electric vehicle sales, and recycling rates, are off track and require significant improvement.

Renewable Energy: To improve prospects for meeting targets, Scotland needs to ramp up renewable energy generation, including doubling onshore wind capacity, trebling the pace of public electric vehicle charge point deployment, and significantly increasing heat pump installation rates.

Positive Developments: Despite challenges, there have been some positive developments, including regulations prohibiting the use of direct emissions heating systems for new homes and bold proposals in the “Heat in Buildings” consultation.

In summary, the CCC report underscores the need for urgent action and comprehensive strategies to address Scotland’s climate change challenges, with a particular emphasis on accelerating emissions reduction efforts and enhancing renewable energy generation to meet ambitious targets.

The full report is available here.

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