While Scotland was engulfed by snowy weather in recent weeks, the Scottish Government revealed its latest plan to hold back long-term changes to the climate. The Climate Change Plan sets out how the Government aims to reduce emissions between now and 2032. The first draft was published over a year ago and was scrutinised by four Parliamentary committees, all of which urged Ministers to bring forward a final plan which was more credible, ambitious and detailed. Yet in many ways, this plan is less ambitious than the draft and contains less detail on how policies will actually reduce emissions. There has been a welcome leap forward on transport, our biggest emitting sector, with the commitment to phase out fossil fuel vehicles and increase funding for cycling and walking, saving an extra 500,000 tonnes of CO2 by 2032, and cleaning up our toxic air. But sadly ambition h as been rolled back in almost every sector, from homes to farming and from electricity to waste. In our cold homes, planned emissions reductions of 75 per cent have been scaled back to just 23 per cent and in electricity, the final plan would see three million more tonnes of CO2 emitted in 2032 than the draft. It’s fair to say that in some areas, the draft was overly ambitious, stretching credibility without the detail on how savings would be delivered. Unfortunately, the Government has now gone too far the other way. But the Climate Change Plan is about more than just the numbers. It is supposed to be our blueprint for the kind of Scotland we want to be. It should be the place where our famed Scottish innovation is put to work, meeting our needs for cleaner air, warmer homes and a safe, healthy environment. However, this plan both ignores some low-hanging fruit and sidesteps tougher challenges.
Scotsman 13th March 2018 read more »