Scottish Government must double its efforts to meet climate goals

Changeworks is alarmed by the Climate Change Committee’s assessment that the Scottish Government’s 2030 climate goals are “no longer credible”. 

In their progress report, published today, the Committee stated that continued delays to the updated climate change plan, coupled with delays in promised climate policies, means it no longer believes the Government will meets its 2030 goal to reduce carbon emissions by 75%. 

The Committee concluded that the Government has “no comprehensive strategy for Scotland to decarbonise towards net zero”. 

Scotland has missed its annual emissions target eight times over the last 12 years, with key indicators of progress, such as heat pump installations, off track. 

Concerningly, just over 6,000 heat pumps were installed in Scotland in 2023 – way below the 100,000+ homes per year which, according to the Government’s own Climate Change Plan update in 2020, need to be converted if Scotland is to meet its 2030 emissions target. 

Buildings account for 20% of Scotland’s emissions

Buildings in Scotland account for 20% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions (13% from the home), so it’s impossible for Scotland to reach its net zero target without decarbonising them. 

Leaky homes and a reliance on volatile fossil fuel markets for home heating systems have caused thousands to fall into fuel poverty. Around 35% of Scottish households are in fuel poverty, and over 50% of homes have an Energy Performance rating of D or below. 

The link between the climate crisis and fuel poverty crisis is obvious. Relying on oil and gas for home heating leads to higher, unaffordable energy bills. 

Climate change is the most significant threat to the environment and our way of life, and the Scottish public know this. A recent survey* by Changeworks showed that 79% of adults in Scotland think climate change is a major problem that needs to be addressed.  

Josiah Lockhart, Changeworks Chief Executive, commented: “The Scottish Government should be applauded for its ambitious climate targets and wanting to spearhead the UK’s fight against the climate emergency. However, with ambitious targets must come strong leadership and the ability to allow change to happen in a quick and just manner. 

“The Scottish Government must now double its efforts and refocus its role in being a leader in climate action across the UK.”

“Just because something is difficult, doesn’t mean we should stand-by and let it happen. The Scottish Government must now double its efforts and refocus its role on being a leader in climate action across the UK. 

“The Heat in Buildings Bill in particular is a once in a generation chance to revolutionise the way our homes and buildings are built and retrofitted, leading to lower energy bills and alleviating fuel poverty.  

“It’s imperative that this Bill progresses urgently to provide certainty and clarity to allow the industry to adequately prepare, invest and upskill to respond to the scale of work required if we are to meet the 2045 net zero target.”  

Changeworks is calling on the Scottish Government not to delay or scale back on the ambition of the Heat in Buildings Bill. We want to see the Bill introduced this calendar year alongside a clear timetable for implementation. Not only will this show that the Government is taking the climate crisis seriously, but the intent will support the market develop and allow more time for compliance.

*Changeworks commissioned a nationally representative survey of adults in Scotland in November ’23 managed by 56 Degree Insight.  

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