The Scottish Government aims to achieve net-zero emissions by 2045. WHILST good progress has been made on improving the Climate Change Bill, especially on the target to reach net-zero by 2045, more still needs to be done to fully enshrine the Paris Agreement into Scottish law. The headline target of this Bill, to reduce emissions to net-zero by 2045, puts Scotland amongst the most ambitious countries in the world. When the Scottish Government first introduced this Bill in 2018, it set a target of a 90% reduction in emissions by 2050. At the time this was said to be the “limit of feasibility”. However, over the past year, a number of major scientific reports have shown that this crisis is even worse than originally thought. Due to the mounting scientific evidence of the need for action, and the mass mobilisation of the public that it has ignited, things which were once “unfeasible” have become feasible. The science shows us that we need to act. The question should not be about what is feasible, but what is necessary. This must drive innovation and inspire our political leaders to make the changes that the planet and its people are demanding. Domestically, setting a strong net-zero target is crucial to driving ambition. However, achieving this will require bold new policies to rapidly reduce emissions, and make Scotland a greener, healthier, and more prosperous country for all. This needs urgent action on how we grow our food, how we heat our homes and how we travel around. The Government must set this out in the next Climate Change Plan and 2019-2020 Programme for Government. Crucially, we must also ensure that Scotland doesn’t achieve our targets by shifting the problem onto other countries. We need to reduce our demand for ever more goods, thereby helping other countries reduce their emissions. If we don’t, we will not succeed in preventing this catastrophe. The Climate Change Bill has set an ambitious long-term target, and that is very important. However, things have changed and this law must no longer be about just setting targets: it will inform action on climate change for decades to come. If we can get these details right this autumn, we will have shown the world how to truly implement the whole of the Paris Agreement, and played a huge part in the global effort to avert a climate catastrophe.
The National 3rd July 2019 read more »
The Scottish Government has declared a climate emergency, but we need more action from politicians and individuals if the war against dangerous global warming is to be won, writes Dr Matt Winning. Sound the alarm. We’ve declared a climate emergency! However, it doesn’t really feel like an emergency yet. It feels more like waiting in an emergency room which is slowly filling up with impatient in-patients. All that’s happened so far is the Scottish Government has scrapped their proposed cuts on the air departure tax. An important move, as, given limited technological options, we need to curtail increasing aviation demand. Some people are afraid of flying. I think we need to make more people afraid of flying. Perhaps glass floors or actual snakes on a plane? A first step amongst many on the path to consistent decision-making across the economy. But we now need to even the playing field by taxing aviation properly compared to other forms of travel. The Committee on Climate Change’s advice is to make the UK emissions reduction target net-zero by 2050 and that Scotland should do it even faster, by 2045. In typical Scottish fashion, what will spur us on is proving we can do something better than the English. The race is on. You may take our condensing boilers but you’ll never take our freedom (to have a clean environment)! It may very well be rivalry that spurs us on to greatness. Like Andy Murray in the tennis, it is the achievements of those around him that made him work harder to reach the top. Glasgow and Edinburgh are now in direct competition to become the UK’s first net-zero city. Having lived in both cities, I am looking forward to a wind turbine on the top of the Duke of Wellington’s cone and tourists’ footsteps on the Royal Mile powering local homes. If we could harness the unleashed rivalry of Scottish sports fans and turn that into something positive, like ‘nine in a row’ for largest emissions reductions, then we’d sort the problem in absolutely no time. We always want to feel we’re better than our neighbours so get out there, start telling Susan next door about how little you drive and watch her sell that Volvo and become an eco-warrior.
Scotsman 3rd July 2019 read more »