5 May 2009

World's Most Ambitious Climate Bill Gets Tougher

The Scottish Government is taking further steps to strengthen its world leading Climate Change Bill, Stewart Stevenson confirmed today.

Targets to reduce harmful greenhouse gases are being made even tougher with the inclusion of a new interim target to cut emissions by 34% by 2020. However, Ministers intend to introduce an amendment to the Bill to ensure this rises to at least 42% as soon as the EU agrees to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2020.

Further measures will ensure that carbon cutting action is taken in Scotland, by limiting the use of international credits.

The Minister was responding to the Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee's report on the Bill ahead of the Parliamentary debate on Wednesday.

Stewart Stevenson said:

"Climate change is the greatest environmental threat facing humankind and if global action isn't taken to reduce emissions significantly the world faces an uncertain future. This Scottish Government is taking a leading role, introducing the most ambitious climate change legislation anywhere in the world.

"The Bill sets a target of reducing Scotland's greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050, including emissions from international aviation and shipping. But 2050 is a long way off and we need to be certain we are taking effective action now. That is why this Government has insisted on the inclusion of annual targets, including the addition of a new much tougher 2020 interim target.

"The actions we take today can bring clear and tangible benefits to Scotland now and in the future. In these challenging economic times we need to play to our strengths and build the low carbon economy of the future. Last week's carbon capture study shows that Scotland has the ability to safely accommodate industrial emissions generated in Scotland and North East of England for the next 200 years, confirming we are European leaders in this field.

"Achieving these targets will be challenging. But I am confident that Government, business and the people of Scotland are ready to rise to the challenge."

Stewart Stevenson
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