McAllan blames UK cuts for axing climate target

Mairi McAllan delivers statement on climate targets

Economy and Net Zero Secretary Mairi McAllan blamed UK budget cuts for forcing the Scottish government to attempt to hit climate targets “with one hand tied behind our back”.

Confirming that ministers have abandoned the commitment to a 75% cut in emissions by 2030, Ms McAllan called on MSPs and the four nations to work together to demand the UK Government reverse Scotland’s 9% capital cut.

She said the Scottish government will bring forward legislation to address matters raised by the Climate Change Committee which said the government’s targets were unachievable.

Ms McAllan said she would “ensure the legislative framework better reflects the reality of long-term climate policymaking”.

The government will retain its legal commitment to 2045 alongside annual reporting on progress, she said.

She outlined a series of measures to cut emissions such as reducing the number of cars on the roads, decarbonising agriculture and transforming how homes are heated.

Douglas Lumsden for the Tories said the statement contained a “lot of smoke and mirrors, rehashing of previous announcements and “blaming everyone else they can for their own failures.”

Douglas Lumsden: humiliation for the SNP and Greens

He said the announcement was an “absolute humiliation for the SNP” and “even more humiliating for the Greens” who had ditched environmentalism for nationalism.

Ms McAllan responded by accusing Mr Lumsden of “more than a hint of hypocrisy”. She reminded the chamber that the Tories had stood in the way of “even the most modest measures” such as low emission zones and the deposit return scheme.

Labour’s Sarah Boyack said that the minister’s announcement marks the day that Scotland went from being a “world leader in climate targets to a world leader in scrapping targets”.

She said ambitious targets were not matched by government action, and asked if any interim targets will also be ditched.

The measures announced by Ms McAllan included tackling road congestion, installing a network of 24,000 EV charge points and bringing in integrated ticketing system for bus, train, subway and ferry travel.

Princes Street, trams and big wheel
A system of cross-ticketing for various transport modes will be introduced (pic: Terry Murden)

A new Climate Assembly to build public understanding and engagement on the transition to net-zero, creating greener jobs for workers at Mossmorran and Grangemouth, and making public subsidies for farming conditional on measures to understand and reduce emissions are among other measures to be rolled-out.

Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie said the statement represented progress on climate action.

“Ever since the first Climate Change Act, I’ve said that world-leading targets are not enough, especially if there aren’t credible and robust plans in place to deliver them.

“We have a responsibility not just to advocate for accelerated action, but to make it happen. Today’s announcement is a big step towards delivering that.

“Reducing the number of cars on the road, decarbonising agriculture and transforming the way we heat our homes, these are the big changes that will make a difference and that are at the heart of our plans we have developed with our Scottish Government colleagues.”

Industry reaction

Claire Mack, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said:   “Scotland was the first country in the world to commit to achieving net-zero carbon emissions in line with scientific evidence and the first country in the world to declare a climate emergency.

“This has helped establish Scotland as a globally recognised leader on climate action which is why the rollback on our landmark 2030 target and wider climate change legislation is extremely disappointing.

“At this crucial time, we need to signal confidence to investors and our supply chain that Scotland is the best place in the world to build the renewable energy projects which deliver energy security, economic growth and carbon reduction at scale.

“The Scottish Government must learn the lessons of these missed targets by urgently acting on the clear recommendations of the Climate Change Committee and delivering the strong policies needed to support delivery.

“This will be essential to ensuring carbon emissions are reduced at the rate required across every sector and to maintain investor confidence in Scotland’s renewable energy industry.

“We urge the Scottish Government to work collaboratively with industry and key stakeholders to deliver the coherent policy environment needed to realise Scotland’s full potential as a net-zero powerhouse.

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