Government's plan on climate change not credible

The Scottish Government has shown an ‘extremely worrying’ lack of ambition in its new plans to reduce emissions, a leading coalition said today. [1]

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) [2] slammed the government’s second climate action plan, the draft Report on Proposals and Policies 2 (RPP2), accusing it of failing to fully grasp the multiple benefits for the economy, society and the wider environment to be gained from a transition to a low carbon economy.   The Royal College of Nursing today added their voice to call for more focus on measures which reduce emissions and can improve the health of Scots across the country.

With the Scottish Government having missed its first climate target, SCCS believes this draft plan fails to put us back on track to cut our emissions and play our full part in tackling dangerous climate change, committed to in the 2009 Climate Change Act.

Reacting to the draft action plan, Tom Ballantine, Chair of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland said:

“It is extremely worrying to see the lack of ambition demonstrated by the Scottish Government when it comes to reducing our climate emissions.  We have the strongest climate laws in the world and the Government has gone to great efforts to highlight this example globally.

“Sadly, missing the first climate target last year does not appear to have been the wake-up call needed for Ministers to put fresh impetus into their climate action plans. This new plan does little to reassure us that future targets will be met, putting Scotland’s credibility at risk at home and abroad. 

"While there has been some good progress in insulation programmes for homes, it fails to tackle the growing emissions from our transport sector. It calls into question how serious the Government is about delivering on the Act and actually reducing Scotland's emissions year on year.

"We need Members of the Scottish Parliament to come together, as they did in 2009 when passing the Scottish Climate Change Act, to ensure that Scotland's climate ambitions can be realised."

Although there are strengthened commitments to tackle emissions from heating and electricity, the package as a whole lacks credibility.

SCCS is calling on MSPs to suggest key improvements when it undergoes Parliamentary scrutiny, including essential policies to tackle the growing emissions from transport, home energy use and land use:

On transport, Colin Howden, Director of Transform Scotland, said:

"The Scottish Government has again shirked its responsibility of cutting emissions from the transport sector. It has failed to bring forward as confirmed policies the measures that are required now to turn around emissions in this critical area. The plans for transport are even worse than in the previous plan. They have decided to delay action on cutting transport emissions until 2025, in the vain hope that they can pluck something out of the air in the final three years.

"The Parliament must ensure that the Government isn't allowed to hide behind its claims that it doesn't have the funds to cut transport emissions, or that it's Westminster's fault. The Scottish transport budget has risen, not fallen, in recent years but the Government has chosen to spend these extra funds on new road-building rather than on reducing emissions. Under this government, we've seen a 40% increase in roads spending while the funds devoted to sustainable transport have remained static."

On homes, Theresa Fyffe, Director of Royal College of Nursing Scotland, said:

“It’s now widely accepted that climate change is a very real threat to the health and wellbeing of people across the world, and the RCN supports action that enables Scotland to play its part in reducing harmful carbon emissions.  Nurses are on the frontline of patient care and know only too well the health problems that can arise as a result of higher temperatures, extreme weather events, and other climate related impacts. 

“The people most likely to be affected include the elderly, children and the poor - we all have a responsibility to take action and we will support our members to do their bit, but leadership on this global issue must come from Government.  A fully funded National Retrofit Programme combined with the introduction of minimum standards of energy efficiency for all housing are necessary if we are to address the national shame of fuel poverty and the challenge of climate change.”

On land use, Stuart Housden, Director of RSPB Scotland, said:

“The proposals for peatland restoration are very welcome and encouraging.  Scotland's peatland is globally important for biodiversity but restoring degraded peat bogs has additional wider benefits including securing the vast amounts of carbon stored in the peat soils, improving our water quality, and providing opportunities for tourism. RSPB Scotland and other land managers look forward to working with the Scottish Government to deliver this commendable target, but await details on what funding will be put in place to achieve this important work."

Ends

Notes to Editors

  1. Low Carbon Scotland, the Report on Proposals and Policies (RPP): http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0041/00413150.pdf
  2. Stop Climate Chaos Scotland 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. www.stopclimatechaos.org/scotland

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