Gina Hanrahan, Senior Climate and Energy Policy Officer, WWF Scotland: On 3 April, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon met with the Governor of California – the world’s sixth-largest economy – to sign an agreement that strengthens clean energy ties and mutual resolve to deliver strong climate action in line with the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement. It was good to be reminded that, in spite of the recent roll back of US federal action to cut carbon, the clean energy transition is inevitable and unstoppable. Cities, states, companies and communities around the world are increasingly embracing clean energy solutions and the benefits they bring to citizens, such as warmer homes, cleaner air and high quality jobs. The Scottish Government is itself preparing to push forward with stronger efforts to build a thriving zero-carbon economy with a new Climate Change Bill in the pipeline, designed to implement the Paris Agreement.This will involve setting more ambitious long-term goals to limit temperature change to 1.5oC to protect the world’s most vulnerable people, places and species. To make good on collective Paris commitments, the new Bill must aim for Scotland to no longer contribute to global climate change by 2050 at the latest, balancing any remaining emissions from agriculture and food production with removing carbon from the atmosphere by, for instance, tree planting or new technologies. This would be particularly symbolic in the heartland of the industrial revolution. But setting new goals, however stretching, is never an end in itself. It’s the action to deliver on them that really counts. And that’s where Scotland has been falling short. Certainly, amazing progress has been made to expand our renewable electricity sector, where records continue to be set, but we’re still lagging behind on renewable heat and particularly on clean transport. As the Scottish Government’s statutory climate advisors, the Committee on Climate Change, recently emphasised, stronger action and new carbon cutting policies are needed just to hit existing legal climate targets, let alone more stringent ones foreseen in the new legislation. The Scottish Government’s recent draft Climate Change Plan should have been the opportunity to set out a clear pathway for slashing emissions and building a thriving green economy, but four cross-party Committees of the Scottish Parliament recently found the Plan fell remarkably short on new policy action and lacked credibility in key areas.
Scotsman 28th April 2017 read more »