Scottish Government’s negligence failing net zero

Changeworks believes Scotland’s future has been failed by the Scottish Government following today’s announcement that it is to scrap its interim 2030 net zero target.

In the last twelve years, Scotland has missed its annual emissions targets eight times. There have been countless warnings and missed opportunities. Changeworks calls out the government’s negligence. Its reckless lack of proportionate action has brought us to this point.

Until today, the Government had a legal obligation to reduce Scotland’s carbon emissions by 75% by 2030. The scrapping of this target, coupled with the Climate Change Committee’s recent announcement that the 2030 goal was “no longer credible”, raises wider concerns over Scotland’s ability to reach net zero by 2045 – five years ahead of the rest of the UK.

In a speech at New York Climate Week in September, First Minister Humza Yousaf said: “We are collectively guilty of catastrophic negligence and our children have every right to be angry and they have every right, quite frankly, not to forgive us if we do not step up.”

Now, just over six months later, the Government is stepping back from its climate commitments.

Changeworks Chief Executive, Josiah Lockhart, said: “We’re at this point because the Government have failed to act. We’ve been thoroughly failed by those who promised strong leadership.

“Despite the Government’s climate rhetoric, we are far behind where Scotland needs to be. Empty words got us to this point. We don’t want more promises. We don’t want more delay. We need meaningful leadership and action. This must include clear, consistent direction, and policies which meet the scale and pace of the worsening climate emergency.”

The Government also announced a package of measures to tackle the climate crisis. Changeworks is reassured that Heat in Buildings Bill has not been rolled back, and the Government must now focus on passing this legislation as quickly as possible.

Buildings account for around 20% of Scotland’s carbon emissions, therefore any move to net zero has to include support for energy efficiency and renewable heating in our homes. Changeworks calls for the Bill to be passed during the next session of parliament. This is vital if we are to have a chance of meeting our 2045 net zero target.

Josiah said: “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.”