Greens in government 'embarrassed' by Scotland ditching key climate target

Patrick Harvie told STV News that 'everyone in Scotland should be angry' about his Government ditching climate goals.

The leader of the Scottish Greens and Government minister Patrick Harvie has said he is “embarrassed” by the decision to scrap the country’s “world-leading” climate targets.  

Patrick Harvie told STV News that “everyone in Scotland should be angry” after the Scottish Government dropped the key climate pledge to reduce carbon emissions by 75% by 2030, on Thursday.

In a statement to Holyrood, net zero secretary Mhairi McAllan said annual and interim CO2 targets would be ditched in favour of a five-year system.

Friends of the Earth described it as the “worst environmental decision in the history of the Scottish Parliament” while Oxfam said the update made Scotland a “global embarrassment”.

Asked if he was embarrassed by the decision, Harvie said: “I think everyone in Scotland should be angry and a bit embarrassed.

“I share that response that Scotland cannot meet that 2030 target.

“And I’ll tell you the reason we are not going to be able to reach that 2030 target.

“We’ve had targets for 15 years and throughout all of that time, while we’ve seen good progress on decarbonising electricity, we’ve seen basically flatline emissions in too many other sectors – transport, land use, food production.”

It comes three years after the SNP and the Greens formally signed the Bute House Agreement.

That deal saw Harvie enter government as the minister for zero carbon buildings, active travel and tenants’ rights while Lorna Slater, his co-leader, was appointed minister for green skills, circular economy and biodiversity.

Patrick Harvie told STV News that he would not resign from his post in protest at the decision.STV News

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader said the Greens had “torched climate targets for a seat at the table” while the Tories said the Greens should resign from government.

Harvie insisted the “only rational response” to Thursday’s announcement would be to “double down and accelerate the action now to make 2045 a success”.

First Minister Humza Yousaf confirmed that the Scottish Government is still committed to reaching the goal of net zero emissions by 2045.

Harvie rejected calls for him to leave his post in protest of the environmental decision.

“I think the worst thing that I could have done is walk away and not achieve the kind of impact that we are having on climate action right now,” he said.

“I wouldn’t consider walking away and simply refusing to take responsibility for the action that is necessary right now.

“What we are committed to is accelerating action that has been lacking for far too long.

“I think it’s past time that we have politicians who pat each other on the back for having world-leading targets and then vote against the action needed to reach them.”

Harvie said he accepted that Green members would be angry at the scrapping of the target.

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