Caroline Rance FoE Scotland – The Scottish Government’s recent Climate Change Plan was a much-anticipated document. It sets out how the Government intend to meet our climate targets over the next 10-15 years, cutting emissions across all areas of Scottish life, in how we produce our electricity, grow our food, how we travel, and how we heat our homes and businesses. The Plan contained some welcome measures, including important steps forward in tackling transport emissions. Halting the sale of new fossil-fuelled cars and vans in Scotland by 2032 and introducing low-emission z ones in our cities will cut climate emissions and help clean up our air pollution problem. We are also pleased to see that the Government’s Plan relies less on future technological fixes than it did previously, no longer relying on carbon capture and storage – a technology that hasn’t yet been proven to work at scale. However, the main move forward came not from government action, but a leg up from new science. Experts now understand that Scotland’s forests are able to soak up more greenhouse gases from the atmosphere than previously thought – balancing out some of our emissions. This is welcome news, but instead of using these steps forward from transport and science to increase action overall, the Government used these gains to do less in other areas. A draft Plan was produced 12 months ago and it is hard to see what progress has been made in that time, despite recommendations from MSPs across Parliamentary Committees. One of the problem areas is agriculture , which has actually committed to cutting its emissions by 25 per cent less than was proposed in the draft. Many of the proposals to help spur greener farming are under-developed, lacking in targets or requiring further consultation. We see farmers ready to take action but they are not receiving the political and financial support they require. Overall the policy choices in the final plan could mean nearly one million more tonnes of CO2 are released into the atmosphere by 2030 compared to the draft. This is seriously short-sighted at a time when we know we need to be ramping up our climate action, not going backwards on it.
The National 17th March 2018 read more »