Scottish Government fails to meet climate emissions targets again

It marks the ninth time in 13 years that ministers have missed their climate targets.

The Scottish Government has failed to meet another key goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, newly released figures have shown.

Ministers had set a target to reduce emissions by 53.8% between the 1990 baseline and 2022 but statistics on Tuesday show they fell by 50%.

The figures mean the Scottish Government has now missed nine of its last 13 climate targets.

It’s likely to be the last time annual targets will be measured with the Government confirming in April that it would scrap all of its climate goals except its target to reach net zero by 2045.

The Government has repeatedly missed its own, legally binding targets over the last decade.

Earlier this year, ministers scrapped the interim target of reducing emissions by 75% by 2030 earlier this year – describing it as “out of reach”.

Oxfam said Scotland’s political leaders are “gambling with the future of our planet”.

Lewis Ryder-Jones, Oxfam Scotland’s advocacy adviser, said: “This ninth failure in 13 years proves that, once again, team Scotland has lost momentum in the highest stakes match in town.

“With Scotland’s annual targets set to be scrapped, it’s deeply concerning that the annual climate goal posts aren’t just being moved, they’re being removed, creating a convenient smokescreen to mask an undeniable lack of sufficient climate action.  

“Our political leaders are gambling with the future of our planet, the lives of people in communities already being ravaged by climate change, and the survival of future generations: a reckless wager that we cannot afford to lose.

“The time for excuses and inaction is over.”

Net zero secretary Mairi McAllan said Scotland’s emissions were reduced further than the rest of the UK, according to the latest figures, with England’s emissions dropping by 49%, those in Wales by 36.5% and Northern Ireland by 25.9%.

She added: “At the same time our economy has grown by 67% in real terms, demonstrating that tackling climate change and growing our economy go hand in hand.

“While this is good news, the emissions figures for the year 2022 alone reflect a similar picture to that of UK data overall and underline the scale of our vital but challenging task.

“We are now in the second half of our journey to net zero and our 2045 target is one of the most ambitious in the world.

“Action on climate change will require a genuine transformation across our economy and society, with significant changes in sectors such as heat in buildings, transport, energy and agriculture.

“The Scottish Government is determinedly working across all sectors to continue driving this progress.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said the Government had “pumped out press releases but failed to do the hard graft”.

He added: “As a result, today’s figures show Scotland made no progress in reducing emissions in 2022.

“These targets cover the first full year that the Greens were in office, providing further evidence that they are all talk when it comes to the climate.

“Their inaction has been matched only by the Conservative (UK) Government’s total failure to act with anything close to the speed or ambition these challenges demand.”

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