Business leaders, scientists and civil society back climate change targets

Scottish business leaders, environmental scientists and NGOs have commended the Scottish Government for reaffirming its commitment to meet its world-leading target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 42% by 2020.

Ian Marchant of Scottish and Southern Energy, Brendan Dick, Director of BT Scotland, and NFU Chief Executive James Withers joined 44 signatories in a letter to a Scottish newspaper published today supporting the government’s strong commitment to address the causes of climate change and lead Scotland to a greener, more prosperous future.

The 42% emissions reduction target was voted for unanimously by the Scottish Parliament in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act of June 2009.

Extracts from the letter read:

“In reaffirming this target, the Scottish Government has taken a global lead on climate change and committed to a greener more prosperous Scotland… A target of at least 42 per cent is what scientific evidence tells us offers the best chance of avoiding dangerous climate change. Key scientists, some of whom have signed this letter, wrote to the Scottish Government back in June last year to advise them of this. Their conclusions are based upon an overwhelming scientific consensus formed upon the widest possible evidence base and we are glad that the Scottish Government agrees with them...

“As business leaders, scientists and representatives of civil society and trade unions, we see this commitment to cut our emissions as a real opportunity for Scotland. We have a great combination of natural resources and some of the world’s leading experts in terms of technology and climate science to achieve it.

“By setting the right ambition, we have placed ourselves on the path to being a world leader in the low carbon economy of the future. The potential for lasting investment and job creation is significant and, if we take the right steps now, our economic recovery could have solid foundations for the years to come.”

The letter was sent following the government’s response to the publication of the UK Committee on Climate Change (UKCCC) report on Wednesday. The letter signals considerable cross-industry support and has the backing of many leading experts in the field.

The letter concludes:

“The need for urgent action is now. We all have a responsibility to redouble our efforts to cut our emissions in a sustainable manner, and work together to make Scotland the true world leader on climate change it has the potential to be.”

Leading elements of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act include:

• At least a 42% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 (based on 1990 levels)
• At least an 80% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 (based on 1990 levels)
• Emissions from international aviation & shipping to be included from the start
• Strong duty across the public sector to play a full part in tackling Scotland’s greenhouse gas emission.
• Commitment to report annually on consumption-based emissions.

Read the full letter and the names of those who signed it here.

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