After three years of campaigning for stronger commitments in reducing carbon emissions, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland’s work has paid off. On 24th June the Scottish Parliament announced that Scotland would be implementing its own Climate Bill; one that gives a stronger commitment to cutting CO2 emissions than any other act around the world.
The Scottish Climate Change Bill will see commitments to reduce emissions by at least 42% by 2020, a significant difference to the 34% reduction target set by the UK government last year, and additionally commits Scotland to have cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% compared to 1990 levels by 2050, which is in line with current UK targets.
In order to achieve these targets, the new legislation commits Scotland to include the emissions from international shipping and aviation from the outset, take measures to ensure energy efficiency in an attempt to reduce fuel poverty and reduce energy consumption, and making investments in vehicles that emit less harmful gases into the atmosphere.
Board member of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, and director of WWF Scotland, Richard Dixon said,
“With our great ingenuity and massive renewable energy resources, Scotland is well placed to lead on delivering these kinds of tough climate targets. As we run up to the crucial Copenhagen climate conference at the end of 2009 Scotland will be setting the benchmark for all other industrialised countries to live up to.
“This is a huge success for our campaigners, who sent 20,000 messages of support to the Scottish Government from all over Scotland and from countries around the world. Including international aviation and shipping also helps those working at Westminster to get these growing emissions sources included in a vital vote tomorrow on the UK Climate Change Bill.”
Although campaign groups are pleased with the announcement saying that this will set a precedent for the Copenhagen Climate Summit in December, the bill also has its critics. The panel that advises the current government on climate change has warned that Scotland should have waited until Copenhagen, following the UK strategy, and then chosen to implement a 42% target.