Scottish Government fails first climate test

Serious concerns raised as emission target is missed

The Scottish Government’s failure to meet the first target set by the Climate Change Act marks an extremely worrying start to the implementation of this legislation. Today’s announcement that Scotland emitted more greenhouse gases in 2010 than the previous year, means ambition has not been matched by action.

The figures for 2010 were released today and show that Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions increased by nearly 2% from 2009.

2010 is the first year in which annual emissions reduction targets have been set under the Climate Change (Scotland) Act. The Scottish Parliament unanimously passed the Act in 2009 and was praised for taking a world-leading stance on tackling climate change.

Mike Robinson, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland board member, said: “Scotland is proud of our political leadership in setting legislation on this issue, but this has to translate into credible action on the ground.

“These figures underline the need for greater leadership in actually delivering reductions. World-leading climate legislation needs world-leading climate action.

“It is unacceptable to the thousands of people across Scotland who called for a strong Climate Change Act in 2009 that we have fallen short of this first test.

“Instead of driving the change people called for, the government has allowed emissions to rise and failed to lock in the drop in emissions caused by the economic downturn.

“Scottish Government climate policy is at a crossroads. To continue on the current path will mean Scotland hits only one annual emissions reduction target, set under the Act, between 2010 and 2022.

“The new action plan expected from the government must deliver the step change in effort called for by the UK Committee on Climate Change.”

SCCS will write to First Minister Alex Salmond this week setting out their concerns. The Scottish Government’s focus on capital investment to kick-start the economy could - and should - mean improving the quality of our homes as well as building the cycling and walking infrastructure that would reduce emissions in years to come.

Mike Robinson added: “We urge the government to prioritise action on climate change and make low carbon activities central to the forthcoming budget.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

1. For more information or interviews with Mike Robinson of SCCS, contact Lindsay Clydesdale, Oxfam Scotland Media Officer, on 0141 285 8875 or 07880 785159.

2. Emissions data available at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0039/00397478.pdf

3. Details of the annual emission reduction targets under the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 are available at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ssi/2010/359/article/2/made.

4. SCCS is a diverse coalition of more than 60 organisations campaigning together on climate change, including environment, faith and development organisations, trade and student unions and community groups.

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