23 June 2009

Scottish Government Looks Towards Climate Change Agreement

Climate Change Minister Stewart Stevenson has lodged an amendment to the Climate Change Bill that will set the interim target for Greenhouse Gas emissions at 42%. The amendment reinforces the Bill's commitment to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 42% subject to international agreement that is already part of the Bill.

In its December 2008 report “Building a Low Carbon Economy – the UK’s Contribution to Tackling Climate Change” the UK Committee on Climate Change advised that the appropriate targets for reducing greenhouse emissions for the UK should be a 34% reduction by 2020 relative to 1990 levels, and 42% once a global deal to reduce emissions is achieved. The Committee also identified the indicative potential Scotland holds to contribute to these UK targets. The Committee’s independent advice, combined with additional analysis by the Scottish Government, formed the basis for the Government’s Climate Change Delivery Plan (published Wednesday 16 June). This Plan sets out what is needed if Scotland is to achieve its ambitious emission reduction targets.

A robust evidence base – derived from expert, independent advice – is available to support both the 34% and 42% targets, with a clear trigger – the EU moving to a 30% target - identified for moving to the 42% target. No corresponding evidence base – or Delivery Plan – is available to support any intermediate figure between 34% and 42%. In light of this the Government considers it important to amend the Bill to retain the combination of targets based on expert advice and a well considered Delivery Plan.

In support of the amendment, Stewart Stevenson commented “The Scottish Government has already committed to meeting the target of 42% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 based on the EU responding to an international agreement being reached in Copenhagen in December. This amendment reinforces our commitment to world-leading Scottish climate change legislation based on expert advice.

“Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing Governments across the world and will have far reaching consequences for us all. Targets must be based on expert advice, the Scottish Government has sought to follow that advice as the Bill has progressed, and as has been recognised, our proposals are more ambitious than the UK Bill.

“The Scottish Government’s ambitious figures follow the advice of the UK’s leading experts, and have been set out in greater detail in the Scottish Government’s Climate Change Delivery Plan. We believe that this debate should be as fully informed as possible, which is why we set out our detailed targets in that document last week.”

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