An independent committee has told the Scottish Government it must take radical action to ensure greener homes, cars and communities
The Scottish Government must take strong action that leads to greater reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
A new report from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), which provides expert, independent advice to the government, said Scotland will need to radicially increase household energy efficiency, the development of clean energy, and sales of electric cars in order to reduce emissions by 61% on 1990 levels by 2030.
The report, Scottish emissions targets 2028-2032, calls on the Scottish Government to take actions to maintain its high ambition towards greenhouse gas emissions reductions of at least 80% by 2050.
This is a massive opportunity to not only cut emissions but also deliver new jobs in sectors like home insulation and renewable energy across Scotland - Jim Densham
The Climate Change (Scotland) Act calls for emissions reductions that go beyond those in the UK Climate Change Act. Specifically, the legislation requires emissions to reduce by at least 3% per year starting in 2020.
This requires strong action, said the committee, which stated Scotland will have to see 30% of homes using low-carbon heating by 2030, while 65% of new car and van sales will have to be electric by the same year.
In the meantime, new forests will have to be planted on16,000 hectares of land a year and the government will have to make significant progress on electricity decarbonisation through expanding renewable power and shutting down coal power.
Lord Deben, chairman of the Committee on Climate Change, said: “Scotland is leading the UK in its ambitious approach to tackling climate change and is to be commended for doing so.
“There is a lot of positive action already underway in Scotland, driven by both its vibrant renewable sector and its bold policy approaches. This must now be accelerated. New policies will be required to meet these ambitious but achievable carbon objectives. With these actions Scotland can continue as an example to the rest of the UK in its approach to address climate change.”
According to the report, Scotland has made good progress in reducing its emissions to date. In 2013, emissions had fallen by 38% on 1990 levels and are on track to exceed the target of 42% by 2020 set out in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act.
Responding to the publication of the report, Jim Densham from third sector coalition Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, said: “The advice from the UK CCC describes a rapid transition away from fossil fuels towards a clean, renewable energy future. This means by 2030 electric cars need to be the vehicle of choice, renewable heat must be common place across our buildings and all our homes energy efficient.
“This is a massive opportunity to not only cut emissions but also deliver new jobs in sectors like home insulation and renewable energy across Scotland, improve public health, create investment in new industry and help tackle fuel poverty.”
Scottish Government climate change minister Aileen McLeod said: "We are on track to exceed our 2020 target for a 42% reduction from baseline levels in greenhouse gas emissions and have outperformed the UK as a whole in every year since 2010. Out of the Western European EU-15 countries, only Sweden has achieved greater reductions to date.
"The committee's current advice on how best to maintain our high ambition approach will be taken into account when Scotland's next batch of targets are set in October."