Scottish Government set to ditch 2030 climate crisis target

Scotland's net-zero secretary Màiri McAllan will give an update to the Scottish Parliament on Thursday.

A statement is expected at Holyrood amid reports the Scottish Government is to ditch its 2030 climate change goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 75%.

Last month, the independent Climate Change Committee said Scotland’s 2030 goals were no longer credible. 

It is understood the Government’s final goal of reaching “net-zero” by 2045 will remain.

Friends of the Earth said choosing to scrap the 2030 climate targets would be the “worst environmental decision in the history of the Scottish Parliament”.


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“The climate crisis demands urgent action now – not broken promises,” a spokesperson said.

Greenpeace UK’s political campaigner, Ami McCarthy, said: “Legislating to reduce Scotland’s climate ambition, fresh off the back of the planet’s hottest ever recorded 12-month period, is like striking a match in a petrol station. It might not set the whole thing ablaze immediately but it’s clearly a dangerous step to take.”

Ms McCarthy said Scotland’s 2030 emissions reduction goal had been “entirely achievable” when it was set five years ago but that the Scottish Government had failed to deliver the required policies.

Then-first minister Nicola Sturgeon declared a climate emergency in 2019 and Scottish ministers set the goal of achieving “net-zero” greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.

Net-zero secretary Mairi McAllan will give an update to the Scottish Parliament on Thursday afternoon.

It comes after the damning Climate Change Committee report that noted targets for reducing emissions had “repeatedly been missed” and that the Scottish Government is “failing to achieve” its ambitious climate goals.

Jamie Livingstone, head of Oxfam Scotland, said: “With the world becoming a dirtier and deadlier place every day, any decision by Scottish ministers to rewrite Scotland’s climate rulebook would be an acute global embarrassment.

“It would also be the direct and damaging consequence of the Scottish Government’s own dilly-dallying on climate action.”

Speaking ahead of the statement, she said that taking action to tackle the twin crises of climate change and nature loss is the “defining global issue of our era”.

She added: “Whilst we are faced with a UK Government which is rowing back on climate action, and hostile to measures already adopted by nations across the world like the Deposit Return Scheme, the progress we have made since Scotland declared a global climate emergency in 2019 and since Glasgow hosted Cop26 in 2021 is now at risk.

“This cannot continue. The future of our planet and the security of future generations is far too important.

“Tackling climate change is an environmental imperative and our moral obligation. However, done correctly, it can also present perhaps the single greatest social and economic opportunity of many generations in Scotland.

“To achieve this, our work must be taken forward in a way that is ambitious and fair, which empowers communities and recognises the different needs of rural, island and urban areas.

“This Government is absolutely committed to tackling the climate crisis with the urgency and pace which is required. However, to do so we need collective will and a common sense of priority.

“I call on all parties in the Scottish Parliament to put politics aside, to reject culture wars, and to back our efforts. This is our collective mission in which we cannot fail.”

Scottish Conservative shadow secretary for net zero, energy and transport Douglas Lumsden said: “If this report is correct, it amounts to an abject humiliation for the SNP-Green Government.

“For all the boasting about their supposed environmental credentials, the reality is a succession of missed targets – and being forced to throw in the towel on this flagship pledge represents the biggest failure of the lot.

“This climbdown is not a surprise, given the damning report from the Climate Change Committee, but it is symptomatic of a Nationalist coalition that routinely over-promises and under-delivers.

“Mairi McAllan must be cringing at the thought of delivering this statement after her absurd claim that world leaders were seeking out the Scottish Government for advice on reaching environmental targets.”

Scottish Greens climate spokesperson Mark Ruskell MSP said: “We are absolutely determined to accelerate the urgent and substantial action needed to tackle the climate crisis as laid out by the CCC recently, and fully expect the Scottish Government to respond to that challenge.

“This is a pivotal moment for us to ramp up the kind of meaningful change that will put us on track to achieve net zero by 2045 at the latest, in the face of a complete reversal of climate action from the UK Government.”

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