Ambition to tackle climate change is at the heart of the Scottish Government’s aim to create a growing, sustainable and inclusive economy. There is increasing recognition that taking action can provide wide economic and social benefits, such as new jobs, improved air quality, and positive health outcomes.
The Climate Change (Scotland) Act passed by the Scottish Parliament in 2009 helped to establish Scotland as a world-leader in tackling climate change. Since then, Scotland has made sustained progress against the ambitious targets set under the Act. Scottish Greenhouse Gas Emissions statistics are published annually and an annual target report setting out whether each annual target has been met is laid in the Scottish Parliament. The independent Committee on Climate Change also produces an annual progress report on reducing emissions in Scotland.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Paris Agreement was agreed in December 2015 at the 21st Conference of the Parties in Paris. The Agreement’s central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The Scottish Government is committed to playing its part in limiting global temperature rises by decarbonising the Scottish economy. It does this in the context of evidence from the International Finance Corporation that indicates that the Paris Agreement will help open up $23 trillion worth of opportunities for climate-smart investments in emerging markets between now and 2030.
The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 requires the Scottish Government to publish regular plans for meeting our emission reduction targets. The Scottish Government is in the process of finalising its third Climate Change Plan, setting out proposals and policies to drive emissions down by 66% by 2032. The final Plan is expected in early 2018.
The Scottish Government has set out proposals for a Climate Change Bill, to be introduced this parliamentary year, that will set even more ambitious targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and ensure that we meet our obligations under the Paris Agreement. A public consultation on these proposals closed on 22nd September and the Scottish Government will be setting out its response in due course.
On 5 September 2017, the First Minister launched the Programme for Government 2017-18, which sets out bold commitments to decarbonise our economy and places Scotland firmly at the forefront of the global fight against climate change. The Scottish Government will establish a Just Transition Commission to advise Scottish Ministers on the move towards a low carbon economy.