Government falls short of getting climate change promise back on track

The Scottish Government has failed to sufficiently use today’s draft Budget as an opportunity to turn things around and get Scotland back on track to meet future climate change targets, one of Scotland’s largest civil society coalitions has highlighted.

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) has said that despite the Government’s own admission that Scotland has already failed to reach its first greenhouse gas emission reduction target, today’s announcement shows it has not taken sufficiently seriously the need for strong action, despite some encouraging moves in the right direction.

Pointing towards the Government’s own advisory body, the UK Committee on Climate Change, which has called for a ‘step change’ in efforts to reduce emissions, Chair of SCCS Tom Ballantine has expressed his concern that the Government isn’t listening to repeated warnings that significantly more action is needed.

Mr Ballantine said:

“Earlier this year the Scottish Government confirmed it had missed the very first emissions reduction target set under the Scottish Climate Change Act. Today’s Budget was their opportunity to get us back on track and ensure we never miss a climate target again. The expert committee, the CCC, have advised that a ‘step change’ in efforts is required, but this has not been reflected in today’s draft Budget.

“Today’s Budget makes it clear that the Government is not taking sufficiently seriously the need for urgent action to tackle emissions and meet its legally-binding climate change targets.

“Scottish Ministers are quick to champion Scotland’s climate change legislation and hold it up as a world-leading example, but this risks looking somewhat hollow given that it has not so far been matched with enough action to follow through on the commitments in the Act.

“We urgently need to see more spending directed towards areas which can significantly reduce Scotland’s emissions now and in future years. Transport and home energy are responsible for almost 50% of Scotland’s emissions, so we needed to see a shift in funding in these spending areas in today’s Budget.

“While we welcome the focus on the green economy in this budget and the modest increase in funding for energy efficiency programmes and for cycling and walking, the funding allocated to these sectors remains insufficient.

“If we are to take seriously the Government’s commitment to meeting the targets set under the Scottish Climate Change Act, we must see at least £100m a year allocated to home energy efficiency and fuel poverty programmes, and a move towards 10% of the total transport budget being allocated to active travel (cycling and walking), in a bid to get people out of their cars and reduce emissions.”

The Government have rightly recognised that these areas offer multiple benefits to people across Scotland, as well as reducing emissions, and SCCS calls for further funding to be allocated to these areas.”

Concerned by the missed climate target and the lack of sufficient action to address this, people from all across Scotland will come to the Scottish Parliament on 25th October to tell their politicians to ‘Get their Act together’ and reduce Scotland’s emissions in line with the promises in the Scottish Climate Change Act.

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