EXPERTS have warned the Scottish Government’s strategy for hitting ambitious climate targets by 2030 is based on “wishful thinking” amid fears there is no plan B in the event untested technology cannot be scaled up. Scottish Government ministers have published their climate change update after MSPs pledged to reduce 1990 levels of carbon emissions by 75 per cent by 2030 on the way to becoming carbon neutral by 2045. But experts have raised concerns that using carbon capture and storage (CCS) and negative emissions technology (NET) to decarbonise heavy industry such as the oil and gas sector are not based on evidence it can be done in time. Dr Rachel Howell, lecturer in sociology and sustainable development at Edinburgh University, told Holyrood’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee that she was “very, very concerned about the reliance on negative emissions technologies”. She added: “The justification that’s given for this is that we know this is important because of detailed modelling – that isn’t evidence that it is going to be possible to meet the targets for negative emissions technologies by the dates set. “That looks to me as if scenarios have been examined and there has been concern about the fact that the plans and policies for actually reducing emissions through other kinds of technologies and behaviour change don’t meet the necessary targets – so people have said ‘right’s we’re going to need NET’.” Climate change scientist Dave Reay, the executive director at the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation, said that the technology will be required, but warned that the strategy is “really optimistic to see that kind of scale of NETs operating in our economy, particularly in a way which doesn’t have really large negative consequences”. Tom Shields from the Just Transition Commission, told MSPs that “the hard fact we have to face is there isn’t a plan B”. Mr Shields, who is a director of Neccus, which is producing a Scottish carbon capture project, added: “If we don’t get some of these technologies in place and working to the level we hope they will work then we probably won’t meet the demanding targets that we’ve got.
Herald 26th Jan 2021 read more »