Scotland must build on the environmental progress achieved after the introduction of “world leading” climate legislation a decade ago.
Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham hailed the passage of the 2009 Climate Change Act – which set the target for Scotland to cut greenhouse emissions by 80% by 2015.
With First Minister Nicola Sturgeon having declared the planet is facing a “climate emergency”, tougher targets have now been introduced.
Scottish ministers have set the goal of having “net-zero” greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 – with the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill currently going through Holyrood also proposing a 90% reduction by 2040.
Speaking on the 10th anniversary of Scotland’s first Climate Change Act Ms Cunningham said Scots should be proud of what their country has achieved.
“The 2009 Climate Change Act changed the blueprint for Scotland’s approach to tackling climate change,” she said.
“It brought into law world-leading statutory targets to reduce emissions and began a decade of progress in preparing for the impacts of climate change.
“The strong accountability measures in the Act have ensured that tackling climate change has remained high on the agenda.”
She added: “The people of Scotland can be proud of what we have achieved since then. “We have opened the largest onshore wind farm in the UK, installed one of Europe’s most comprehensive electric car charging networks and are set to become the first country in the UK to introduce a deposit return scheme, giving people even more ways to go greener.
“We have almost halved emissions since 1990 and our progress has been internationally recognised.”
Ms Cunningham concluded: “Now, more than ever before, it is vital that we build on that progress.
“We are facing a global climate emergency and must continue to demonstrate our world-leading approach to tackling climate change.
“With our ambitious new target to reach net-zero emissions by 2045 at the latest, we will end Scotland’s contribution to climate change, definitively, within a generation.”
Lang Banks, director at WWF Scotland said: “Scotland has much to be proud of with our progress in setting world-leading climate targets and embracing renewable power sources.
“But, with the global climate crisis growing each and every day, we cannot rest on our laurels.
“The forthcoming Programme for Government and Budget is an opportunity for ministers to show Scotland is responding to the climate emergency by accelerating its action.
“By putting in place new policies and measures to slash our emissions, we can change how we heat our homes, travel around and grow our food, and in doing so, create a more prosperous and climate-friendly Scotland.”