How climate crisis became a priority for Scotland

Today’s announcement ramps up climate action on the biggest challenges we face head on - in transport, agriculture, industry, aviation, heat and energy - to keep us on track to reach its 2045 target for net zero.

Scottish Greens have been behind a surge in climate action - here's some of the achievements from the last 32 months


August 2021 Scottish Greens enter power-sharing arrangement with the SNP. Patrick Harvie becomes  Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants' Rights, Lorna Slater is appointed Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity

September 2021 The First Minister lays out an agenda heavily influenced by the Scottish Greens in first programme for government following the cooperation deal Plans to invest at least £1.8bn in net zero buildings in Scotland is approved, supporting a key commitment within the Bute House Agreement.

November 2021 Deal announced to see new reforestation targets and establishment of a National Register of Ancient Woodlands. A £55m Nature Restoration Fund soon follows, to go to projects that restore nature and tackle the causes of biodiversity loss.

December 2021 Work ramps up on delivering  recommendations of Scotland’s climate assembly including on Single-Use Plastics, Fair Fares Review, Land Reform Bill and aHeat in Buildings Strategy.


January 2022 The second Strategic Transport Projects Review is published for consultation. STPR2 shows a significant shift in priorities since the Greens entered government. The Scottish Budget delivers on key green priorities, providing billions to tackle the climate emergency. Free bus travel for under 22s goes live.

February 2022 Establishment of two new protected marine sites in Orkney for vulnerable seabirds, as part of the enhanced marine environmental protections committed to in the cooperation agreement, gets underway.

March 2022 Scottish Government publishes their National Strategy for Economic Transformation with measures to be included to move towards a just transition to a net-zero economy and re-orienting our economy. Patrick Harvie, as Minister for ZCBATTR, announces measures to extend the support for households to improve energy efficiency in homes to tackle rising energy bills

April 2022 Announcement that ScotRail will reduce off-peak tickets by 50% between stations across Scotland during the month of May. Subsidised rail fares being a Scottish Greens manifesto commitment.

June 2022 Minister for Circular Economy Lorna Slater announces a ban on new incinerator approvals. The Creation of a statutory Food Commission comes as part of the Good Food Nation Bill following an amendment lodged by Ariane Burgess. More than 11 million free bus journeys taken since Greens’ free bus travel for under 22s initiative was introduced

August 2022 Use of acoustic deterrent devices (ADDs) on salmon farms effectively banned following intervention by Environmental Standards Scotland. This comes after a longstanding community and parliamentary campaign, including Scottish Green legislative amendments.

October 2022 £50m Just Transition fund investment for clean energy jobs in the North-East and Moray is unveiled. The Scottish Government also agrees to adopt a preferred position of no support for coal extraction along with a £2.9m package of funding measures to protect nature and biodiversity. A public consultation on Wildlife Management opens, results of which to feed into development of a new Wildlife Management (Grouse Moor) Bill.

November 2022 Launch of new enhanced agricultural payment, linked to the contribution farmers and crofters make in delivering climate and nature objectives.

December 2022 Scottish Budget 22/23 published with arecord £2.2b funding commitment for climate, nature and biodiversity and scrapping peak rail fares. Scottish Government’s commits to Passivhaus equivalent standard for new homes. Proposals for Highly Protected Marine Areas are published for consultation. Tories give go ahead to first new coal mine for 30 years.


January 2023 The draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan published; hailed as marking the end of support for fossil fuels. Approval of the fourth National Planning Framework, which means all planning decisions must now give “significant weight” to the climate and nature crises

February 2023 Scottish Government Budget 2023/24 includes £2.2b climate and nature investment and a pilot for scrapping peak rail fares.

March 2023 Caledonian Sleeper taken into public ownership.  A new independent study reveals the economic opportunities in the transition away from oil and gas. And £4.3m allocation announced to expand the Climate Action Hub programme

April 2023 The Scottish Government’s new cycling framework is published by Patrick Harvie

May 2023 Lorna Slater as Minister for biodiversity launches consultation to establish at least one new national park by 2026. Start of 20mph speed limit rollout in some council areas, following a campaign first led by Mark Ruskell.New consultation announced by the Scottish Government to consider proposals to end commercial fishing for sandeels in Scottish waters. Launch of the RV COAST Explorer research catamaran, a vessel part funded with £200k from the Scottish Government’s Nature Restoration Fund at Lamlash Bay no take zone.

June 2023 Introduction of Glasgow’s LEZ, with others to follow in Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen. Caledonia Sleeper formally comes under public ownership. New powers for the Scottish SPCA which will help Scotland to tackle wildlife crime to be brought forward as part of the Wildlife Management and Muirburn (Scotland) Bill. HPMAs paused in current form after a campaign of disinformation scuttled consultations. Scotland’s deposit return scheme blocked by Tory government refusing permission for its roll out.

August 2023 Launch of consultation on ban of animal snares and increased powers for Scottish SPCA inspectors, long demanded by Scottish Greens and animal welfare campaigners.

September 2023 FM announces climate change summit called for by Scottish Greens climate spokesperson Mark Ruskell MSP. Programme for Government 2023-24 includes action to deliver more reliable and affordable trains and buses thus reducing car kilometres, support for farmers to switch to climate friendly methods.  Patrick Harvie, in his capacity as Minister, spoke at the Scottish Renewables Heat Summit - “Climate change won’t wait for pieces to fall into place”

Scottish Government announces new deal with industry to deliver more wind farms and benefit communities, boost the economy and reduce carbon emissions. New £5m community bus fund announced, developed to support local authorities to improve public transport, especially in rural areas. Free bus travel for U22s hits 84 million journeys. The Agriculture and Rural Communities Bill will play a significant role in boosting sustainable, regenerative farming across Scotland. UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak axes climate pledges and doubles down on cars, gas boilers and fossil fuels.

October 2023 Removal of peak rail fares begins as part of a six month pilot following negotiations between Scottish Greens and government colleagues. Lorna Slater formally opens the call for bids to see at least one new national park created by 2026. Nature Restoration Fund hits £30m milestone, with ca. 150 projects across the country benefiting.

Scottish Greens conference welcomes announcements for a new levy on cruise ships visiting Scotland is to be developed in partnership with Local Authorities, Extension of a scheme giving free ferry travel to 16-18 year olds to be widened to all young people under 22 living on Scottish islands, £2m of government funding to enable the roll-out of free bus travel to asylum seekers in Scotland, exploration of options for councils to introduce a local carbon or land tax levy to encourage more action on climate and nature and ambitious new targets for solar: plans to deploy six gigawatts of new solar power over the next six years. Labour leader Keir Starmer regages on party’s promise of spending £28bn a year on climate.

November 2023 Patrick Harvie launches consultation paper on planned Heating in Buildings legislation. Stage 1 of the Wildlife Management and Muirburn Bill, which forms part of the BHA, is debated and passed in Parliament. Skills Development Scotland’s Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan outlines £90 billion in planned green investment over next three years.

December 2023 Transport Scotland marks 100 million free bus journeys for under-22s.


February 2024 Announcement of £10.7 of million investment by The National Lottery Heritage Fund into the Cairngorms 2030 programme. Cairngorms will be the UK's first net zero national park. Budget 2024/25 passes delivering on key Scottish Green priorities.

March 2024 Announcement five areas have applied to become Scotland’s new National Park. The Scottish Government’s Land Reform Bill, introduced to parliament to ensure landowners are using their land in ways that benefit our communities, nature and the environment. Wildlife Management & Muirburn Bill passes, bringing new protections for Scotland’s wildlife and landscapes. Climate Change Committee states Scotland’s climate goals are in difficulty without more action, but praises Scottish Greens work on heating. Scottish Greens spring conference hears demands from co-leaders for Scottish Government to urgently accelerate climate action.

April 2024 Scottish Government announces package of rapid acceleration of climate actions proposed by Scottish Greens including powers to bring in congestion charging, a new ticketing system for public transport, tens of thousands more EV charge points, adopting new carbon budgets, a just transition for Mossmorran as well as Grangemouth, new climate incentives for agriculture and farming, consultations on climate taxes, a new Climate Assembly and approach to other UK governments to create a four nations working group.

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