The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 received Royal Assent on August 4, 2009, following a comprehensive period of Parliamentary scrutiny and amendment during the Bill process. On June 24, 2009 the Bill was passed unanimously by members of the Scottish Parliament.
The Act is a key commitment of the Scottish Government, and is the most far-reaching environmental legislation considered by the Parliament during the first ten years of devolution.
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning to a low carbon economy will help create a more successful country, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish, through increasing sustainable economic growth.
The full text of the Act is available on the Office of Public Sector Information website, along with explanatory notes which help place the effect of the Act in context.
- Part 1 of the Act, creates the statutory framework for greenhouse gas emissions reductions in Scotland by setting an interim 42 per cent reduction target for 2020, with the power for this to be varied based on expert advice, and an 80 per cent reduction target for 2050. To help ensure the delivery of these targets, this part of the Act also requires that the Scottish Ministers set annual targets, in secondary legislation, for Scottish emissions from 2010 to 2050.
- The Scottish Ministers will take advice on the targets they set. In the first instance this advice will be provided by the UK Committee on Climate Change. However, Part 2 of the Act contains provisions which will allow the Scottish Ministers to establish a Scottish Committee on Climate Change or to designate an existing body to exercise advisory functions should it be decided that this is appropriate.
- Part 3 places duties on the Scottish Ministers requiring that they report regularly to the Scottish Parliament on Scotland's emissions and on the progress being made towards meeting the emissions reduction targets set in the Act.
- Part 4 places climate change duties on Scottish public bodies. This Part also contains powers to enable the Scottish Ministers, by order, to impose further duties on public bodies in relation to climate change.
- The Act includes other provisions on climate change in Part 5, including adaptation, forestry, energy efficiency and waste reduction. Public engagement is a significant feature of Part 6 of the Act, which also includes provision on carbon assessment.