Patrick Harvie: Scotland can’t remain one of the world’s climate leaders if we stand still. Time has moved on, and we must now see greater ambition in the form of a robust Climate Change Bill that will see Scotland step up to the increased challenge that the Paris agreement demands. On Thursday Scottish ministers will outline, after months of consulting and deliberation, how they plan to maintain Scotland’s status as a global leader on climate change action, and as you would expect, Greens have a few ideas for what they should say. Scotland’s current target is for greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced by 80 per cent against 1990 levels by 2050. The Government’s consultation on a new Climate Bill notes that reducing emissions can provide wide economic and social benefits like new jobs, improved air quality, and better health. While it proposes increasing the target to a 90 per cent reduction, the date it suggest would actually represent slower emission cuts than we’ve achieved so far. But aiming earlier would drive essential innovation in transport, energy and agriculture – the biggest sources of emissions. We should not slow down in our approach; we should aim to catch up and overtake other European countries such as France and Sweden who have already committed to becoming zero-carbon. Greens in government in Sweden have already committed to cutting net carbon emissions to zero by 2045. An agreement drawn up by a cross-party committee was passed with an overwhelming majority in parliament. It establishes an independent Climate Policy Council and requires an action plan to be updated every four years. The new Climate Change Bill is crucial if Scotland is to seize the opportunities of new jobs in the low-carbon economy, and that’s why the Greens are campaigning for a target of net-zero emissions by 2040, to keep us on track toward the goals of the Paris Agreement and maintain at least the same pace as the previous decade of emission cuts. The First Minister says she is “consulting and listening” on this. That’s good, and she should listen to the case for net-zero emissions.
The National 23rd Feb 2018 read more »