Climate change action plan delayed until end of 2020

The document had been due to be published by the Scottish Government this week.

Climate change action plan delayed until end of 2020 Pixabay
Climate change: The action plan has been delayed.

The Scottish Government will not produce its updated climate change action plan until the end of this year, the environment secretary had said.

Roseanna Cunningham had already announced the document – which was due to be published on Thursday – would have to be delayed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

She has now confirmed to MSPs on Holyrood’s Environment Committee she intends to produce it “towards the end of this year”.

Climate change legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament last year committed ministers to meeting tougher targets on reducing emissions.

The Climate Change Act set the goal of reducing greenhouse gases by 75% by 2030 and committed Scotland to reaching net-zero emissions by 2045.

The plan was needed to set out what measures would be needed for Scotland to achieve these goals.

Cunningham said: “I know this is not where any of us expected to be, goodness knows we could hardly have envisaged the scenario we are now having to work in and the speed with which things change, the uncertainty around that.

“I and the government remain committed to Scotland’s world-leading climate change targets.”

But she added the deadline for producing the climate change plan update for the end of April, six months after the legislation was passed, is “no longer feasible nor appropriate given the challenges we are currently facing”.

She said there will need to be “a bit of time to ensure the policies and proposals that we do put forward will reflect the new economic and social realities post-pandemic”.

The new plan will need to be aligned with the economic recovery strategy that will be produced in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.

She added: “None of us can be blind to the disruption to the economy that has happened and that does mean that some of our assumptions about attitudes and individual behaviours may have to shift as well.

“It’s a bit too soon to say what the long-term impacts will be, or the unintended consequences, but we can’t proceed if there will not be those long-term impacts.

“We have to take some time to analyse the scale of economic and societal change, and to think about which policies will need to be updated.”