December 13, 2022
After concluding that the Climate Challenge Fund (£100m) didn’t deliver sufficient sustained climate action at a community level, the Scottish Government embarked on a radical change of tack. SCCAN is being supported to establish a series of regional networks of activists and climate action groups in order to build local levels of resilience. Thought to represent a more sustainable approach to support climate action over the long term, the pressure on this approach to succeed has just ratcheted up with the publication of the Climate Change Committee conclusions that Scotland is falling woefully short of its climate targets.
A report published last week by the UK Committee on Climate Change (CCC) assesses Scotland’s overall progress in achieving its legislated targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The report highlights serious concerns about the lack of a clear delivery plan and an explanation for how policies will achieve targets, resulting in a danger of these becoming ‘meaningless’.
Reacting to the report, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) – a diverse coalition of over 60 organisations in Scotland campaigning together on climate change – is deeply concerned that ‘the integrity of the Scottish climate framework is now at risk’ due to inadequate action taken by the Scottish Government to meet targets.
Mike Robinson, Chair of SCCS said:
“We welcome this expert and comprehensive report from the UK Committee on Climate Change, which provides the Scottish Government with a loud and clear wake up call. Scotland needs bold, decisive and immediate action to reduce emissions. Without this, the trend of missed targets, and failure to tackle the climate crisis will only continue.”
“Having previously made more progress on decarbonising than the UK, this report shows that Scotland is now falling behind on a number of key areas, undermining credibility on the international stage just a month after COP27 and highlighting the need for more cooperation on reserved matters. The time for positive rhetoric is over – the Scottish Government must urgently redouble efforts to meet targets. Action is needed now to achieve the crucial 2030 target, while the forthcoming Climate Change Plan will be important for further actions, after 2030, to achieve longer term ambitions.”
The report focuses in particular on the action needed to reduce emissions from transport, buildings and land use:
- On transport, SCCS agrees that the Scottish Government has some positive ambition but is falling behind on implementation strategies to deliver policy changes. Urgent action is needed to promote alternatives to private car use such as active travel and public transport and to put measures in place to make journeys by car a less attractive option. The report also rates the Scottish Government poorly on efforts to reduce air travel – not using devolved powers to discourage flight growth.
- On land use, the forthcoming Agriculture Bill must have a clear, legally binding purpose for reducing emissions. The report also highlights the need to ‘shift to lower carbon diets’ and for more effort to be made to expand woodlands and restore peatland.
- On buildings, a swift, properly funded and coordinated approach to retrofitting and insulating homes is not only urgently needed to ensure Scotland meets its targets, but can also address the cost of living crisis.
To respond to this challenging report SCCS expects to see the appropriate action taken through these forthcoming opportunities:
- Next week’s budget, where steps must be taken to ensure action is properly funded with additional money raised through making the biggest polluters pay more. It should also allocate more money to emissions reduction and less to the most polluting activities.
- The delayed Energy Strategy, now expected in early 2023, where the Scottish government needs to set out a strong position opposing new oil and gas licences and plans for reducing demand.
- The Circular Economy Bill, where consumption targets must be set out to address the rising emissions from imported goods and services.
- The Just Transition Plans, which, in light of this, report must deliver clear, credible and equitable paths for all sectors
- Engagement with Local Authorities, where greater clarity and more resources must be given to support local authorities in their role to deliver the actions needed. The Scottish Government should review and embrace the Net Zero Committee’s recommendations on this issue.