The Scottish Government should maintain its high ambition pathway towards greenhouse gas emissions reductions of at least 80% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) says today.
The Committee’s new report, Scottish emissions targets 2028-2032, recommends emissions reductions of 61% by 2030 in order to meet the requirements of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act. This would go beyond the UK ambition for that period. It is achievable and in line with the Act and the global shift towards higher ambition implied by the Paris Agreement.
The Committee also recommends a revision to the Scottish targets for 2017-2027 to align them with the latest scientific evidence on past emissions and accounting rules for the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS).
The Climate Change (Scotland) Act calls for emissions reductions that go beyond those in the UK Climate Change Act. Specifically, the legislation requires emissions to reduce by at least 3% per year starting in 2020. The targets recommended by the Committee are based on Scotland’s emissions reductions so far combined with this high level of ambition.
Scotland has made good progress in reducing its emissions to date. In 2013, emissions had fallen by 38% on 1990 levels and are on track to exceed the target of 42% by 2020 set out in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act. The Committee’s recommended emissions targets for 2028-2032 continue along that ambitious trajectory, putting Scotland on track for a reduction of at least 80% in 2050.
As laid out in the report, these are stretching objectives and they require strong action, such as:
- Low-carbon heat in about 30% of homes by 2030 with widespread uptake of heat pumps, low-carbon heat networks, domestic insulation and energy efficiency measures. There is a particular opportunity for cost-effective investment in low-carbon heat and energy efficiency measures in rural and off-grid areas, helping to reduce fuel poverty.
- Low emission (e.g. electric) vehicles comprising about 65% of new car and van sales by 2030. The Committee has carefully considered the rural areas of Scotland in this analysis, with plug-in hybrid vehicles likely to be more suitable than battery electric in some rural regions.
- Afforestation involving 16,000 hectares per year of new forest planting.
- Electricity decarbonisation to reduce emissions from 220 gCO2/kWh to below Scotland’s legislated target of 50 gCO2/kWh. This is achievable given the very large potential for expanding renewable power and shutdown of coal power.
The Committee’s advice is based on a thorough review of the evidence. This includes an open call for evidence, discussions with government, industry, NGOs and other key stakeholders, public hearings and its own analysis.
Lord Deben, Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change, said: “Scotland is leading the UK in its ambitious approach to tackling climate change and is to be commended for doing so. There is a lot of positive action already underway in Scotland, driven by both its vibrant renewable sector and its bold policy approaches. This must now be accelerated. New policies will be required to meet these ambitious but achievable carbon objectives. With these actions Scotland can continue as an example to the rest of the UK in its approach to address climate change.”
To access the report, follow this link