Scotland ditches 2030 climate target to cut emissions by 75%

Scotland's semi-autonomous government has control over some elements of climate and environmental policy, but others - most notably, almost all energy policy - remain under the control of the British government in London

Updated - April 19, 2024 01:11 pm IST

Published - April 19, 2024 01:10 pm IST

Electricity pylons are seen at the side of Loch Fyne in Scotland January 21, 2015.

Electricity pylons are seen at the side of Loch Fyne in Scotland January 21, 2015. | Photo Credit: Reuters

Scotland on Thursday scrapped its target of cutting climate-damaging greenhouse gas emissions by 75% by 2030, blaming the central British government, but said it still intends to meet a 2045 net zero target.

The move came in response to a critical report published last month by the independent Climate Change Committee (CCC), which said Scotland was so far behind what was needed to meet the 2030 target that it was no longer credible.

"We accept the CCC's recent re-articulation that this parliament's interim 2030 target is out of reach," Mairi McAllan, the Net Zero Secretary for Scotland's devolved government, told the Scottish parliament in Edinburgh.

McAllan said Scotland was constrained by cuts to the capital funding it receives from the British government and an overall weakening of climate ambition by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Scotland's semi-autonomous government has control over some elements of climate and environmental policy, but others - most notably, almost all energy policy - remain under the control of the British government in London.

"We are trying to achieve societal and economic transformation, with one hand tied behind our back," she said.

McAllan, a member of the pro-independence Scottish National Party, said Scotland still had an "unwavering commitment" to reaching net zero by 2045.

In September, Sunak pushed back climate targets on phasing out new petrol cars and gas-powered domestic heating boilers, saying Britain could afford to make slower progress because it was ahead of its peers on cutting emissions.

That was widely interpreted as a political move to try to maintain public support for net zero policies, which have seen pushback in Britain and a number of countries across Europe as voters baulk at their cost during hard economic times.

Scotland's 75% target - measured against a 1990 baseline level - was more ambitious than the overall Britain-wide commitment of at least 68% reduction by 2030.

Scotland's remaining 2045 net zero target is again more ambitious than the 2050 target set by the British government.

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