Scottish government's failure on climate targets and aviation

Key measures published by the Scottish Government confirm Scotland’s 2020 climate target to cut emissions by 42% but a commitment on early action is disappointing and the full impact of aviation is being ignored.

Four Statutory Instruments laid before parliament today cover annual targets for emissions until 2022, accounting for emissions from aviation and shipping, the buying of carbon credits, and its rules on carbon accounting.

Mike Robinson, Chair of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland said:

“It is commendable that the government has restated its commitment to reduce emissions by 42% by 2020 but it remains critical that we see early action in our efforts to reach this goal, and that aviation is appropriately accounted for.”

“While we welcome the government's commitment to 3% annual targets from 2014, its refusal to use carbon credits in the short term, and the fact it has gone marginally beyond the recommendations of the UK Climate Change Committee to identify savings of 0.5% before 2014, we are disappointed that the targets fall far short of the 3% annual targets we had been seeking from the off."

The scientific consensus on the impact of emissions from aviation is that there are additional effects in excess of those arising from direct emissions on the ground. While there is a debate as to what the ‘multiplier’ for aviation emissions should be, the most recent studies suggest a multiplier of two would more accurately reflect the full impact. This is the figure used by most UK government departments. The Scottish government today chose not to apply a multiplier for aviation emissions.

Mike Robinson continued:

“We are extremely disappointed that the full impact of aviation emissions will not be accounted for. There is general agreement that emissions at altitude have a greater impact and most studies veer towards it being twice that of emissions on the ground. By ignoring the full impact of aviation the commitment given in the Scottish Climate Change Act is significantly undermined. If the economy is tasked with helping to achieve carbon reductions it is essential that we properly reflect the impact of choosing to fly.”

"As a coalition of civil society organisations, we recognise that we have a crucial role to play in helping to engage the public so Scotland can deliver on its commitment to tackle climate change. We need everyone to play a role in converting the country's good intentions into real action."


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