Wed 27 Dec, 2017

We cannot afford to slow down if we're serious about meeting our responsibilities. Mark Ruskell MSP

Pressure is mounting on Scottish Ministers to set a target of zero carbon emissions by 2040, as a leading expert in the field lends his weight to analysis from the Scottish Greens.

The Scottish Government's proposal for the forthcoming Climate Change Bill is a 90 per cent reduction by 2050, which represents a slowing down in the current rate of action. 

Green MSPs have warned this risks stalling progress on low-carbon infrastructure such as energy efficient housing, greener buses and new rail lines.

Glasgow Caledonian University researcher Dr Keith Baker, co-founder of the Scottish Carbon Accounting Group, confirms this analysis. 

Dr Baker said:

"Scotland has earned a reputation as a world leader on reducing carbon emissions but we're in danger of throwing that lead away. If we look at the trend over recent years we can see that if we maintain the current rate of emissions reduction we can hit net-zero by 2040, so a target of 90 per cent by 2050 clearly represents a slowing down in ambition.

"There are huge advantages to reducing fuel poverty and inequality, and creating lasting jobs for the future, if we keep up the momentum. The forthcoming Climate Change Bill is an exciting opportunity for Scotland to play its part in meeting the global climate agreements made in Paris. I urge Scottish Ministers to, at the very least, not slow down the rate of action."

Mark Ruskell MSP, Climate Change spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, said:

"There's a growing consensus that we need to use the forthcoming Climate Change Bill to set an ambitious zero-emissions target, and it's welcome to have expert backing for our call to maintain the current trajectory and aim for 2040. We cannot afford to slow down if we're serious about meeting our responsibilities.

"The government has talked up the phasing out of petrol and diesel vehicles but we need to see other measures in the Climate Change Bill such an acceleration of the green bus fund and a nitrogen budget for farming to help drive the changes needed to reduce emissions from transport and agriculture. We should also explore how to set a target which keeps fossil fuels in the ground.

"And there's a chance for ministers to use the budget to speed up investment in low-carbon infrastructure, so we boost economic progress and resilience, improve health and cut fuel poverty."

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