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Letter: Lord Deben, Climate Change Committee to Roseanna Cunningham MSP

1. Outline

This is a letter from Lord Deben, Chairman of the CCC in response to a request from Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform in February 2020 for advice relating to Scotland’s 2030 emissions reduction target.

Our analysis last year was designed to recommend a date (2045) for reaching Net Zero emissions in Scotland, rather than the path for emissions to that goal. We have now completed a comprehensive analysis of pathways to reach Net Zero for the whole of the UK in the Sixth Carbon Budget – The UK’s path to Net Zero. We can now provide further advice on the pathway for Scottish emissions.

2. Key recommendations

  • On the basis of this new analysis, we find that the legislated 2030 target of a 75% reduction in Scottish emissions goes beyond the level of any of our five scenarios on the way to Net Zero in 2045 in Scotland.
  • We cannot yet calculate the precise shortfall between our scenarios and the 2030 target that was legislated by the Scottish Parliament. Forthcoming decisions will change how emissions are estimated under the Scottish emissions inventory in future.
  • The 2030 target is a statutory target and must be met. As such, the Committee has identified ways that Scotland could potentially reduce emissions beyond the abatement identified in the five new scenarios in our latest report, which the Scottish Government may wish to consider:
    • Earlier start to engineered greenhouse gas removals
    • Early decarbonisation of the Grangemouth cluster
    • Accelerated scrappage of high-carbon assets
    • Additional retrofit of hybrid heat pumps
  • Our analysis indicates that meeting the legislated 2030 target will be extremely challenging but the Committee does not recommend that the target is changed in law.