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March 26, 2024

What next for climate action?

As one climate target after another was missed, the prospect of hitting the 2030 target of reducing our carbon emissions by 75% was becoming an ever more distant prospect. Until last week that is, when the Scottish Government’s official advisor on climate change – the Climate Change Committee – finally declared the targets to be no longer realistic. The Scottish Government should have published its Climate Change Plan last year but constant delays have left these targets with no possible means of delivery. Many voices from civil society and beyond are now calling for an emergency response from the First Minister.


Last Wednesday, a new report by the Scottish Government’s official advisors on climate change delivered a damning verdict about Scotland’s climate targets, saying they are “no longer credible”, due to insufficient actions or policies.

Responding to the Committee on Climate Change’s report, Mike Robinson, Chair of the Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) coalition, which represents 70 civil society organisations in Scotland, said:

“After scant progress to reduce emissions in recent years, this damning report comes as no surprise, but nevertheless is deeply frustrating. Just five years ago every party in the Scottish Parliament supported the rightly ambitious legal target to reduce emissions by 75% by 2030, but since then we’ve seen a damaging mix of party politics, policy delay, and lack of investment.  

“Put simply, after declaring a climate emergency, the Scottish Government has failed to deliver anything close to an emergency response, and must now redouble efforts.

“Scotland’s climate targets are based on what the science told us was our fair contribution to maintain a liveable planet. By failing to do what’s needed to meet them, politicians are failing the people of Scotland and the communities around the world who have done least to cause the climate crisis but are experiencing the worst impacts.

“No more time can be wasted or excuses given – we urgently need to see where and how Scottish Ministers will ramp up action to cut emissions – particularly in how we heat our homes, in agriculture and transport. Action needs to be much better coordinated with the UK Government, and we need investment funded through making polluters pay for the damage they cause.”

Mike Robinson added:

“It speaks to the lack of determined action by Government that only five years since setting the targets, they are already seen as not being credible. While every party in the Scottish Parliament carries some blame, the Scottish Government has lost its position as a climate leader and we would like to see the First Minister make an emergency statement to Parliament to set out his response.”