First Minister accused by Greens of slow down on climate action

The First Minister was warned today that the Scottish Government's proposed Climate Change Bill represents a "slowing down" of action to reduce damaging greenhouse gas emissions caused by transport, energy, homes and industry.

At First Minister’s Questions, Patrick Harvie said that continuing emissions reductions at the same rate as the past decade would lead to a 100% reduction by 2040, whereas the government's much weaker proposal is to aim for a 90% reduction by 2050.

Referring to his party’s response to the new Climate Bill’s consultation (which closes on Friday 21 Sept), Harvie said the government could do so much more by including targets such as phasing out petrol and diesel vehicles, increasing energy from renewables and setting a nitrogen budget for farming, to help drive the changes needed to reduce emissions from transport, energy and agriculture.

The Greens’ consultation response urges the Scottish Government to consider the party’s Jobs in Scotland's New Economy report which shows how to create 200,000 new jobs in low-carbon sectors by 2035.

Glasgow MSP and Green co-convener, Patrick Harvie said:

"The new Climate Change Bill is crucial if Scotland is to seize the opportunities of new jobs in the low carbon economy, but as things stand the Scottish Government is set to slow down our ambition. That's why my party is campaigning for a target of net-zero emission by 2040, to keep us on track to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. The First Minister says she is ‘consulting and listening’ on this, that’s to be expected, but there are no advantages to slowing down on climate action.

"Other countries have already set net-zero targets before the year 2050, including Norway and Sweden. Scotland has a chance to continue showing leadership and adopt a net-zero target and I’m glad the First Minister has at least committed to ‘proper consideration’ of consultation responses.

"Scotland’s future prosperity depends on conserving existing oil stocks rather than exploring for more and building thousands of new jobs in a clean economy. The Climate Bill should explore how to set a target which keeps fossil fuels in the ground."