We are transitioning to a net-zero emissions Scotland for the benefit of our environment, our people, and our prosperity.

Scotland’s world-leading climate change legislation sets a target date for net-zero emissions of all greenhouse gases by 2045. Our contribution to climate change will end, definitively, within one generation.

We published our Climate Change Plan update in December 2020 which reflects the increased ambition of the new targets set in the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019.  


We are:


Our environment and economy are intrinsically linked, and Scotland’s transition to a more prosperous, net-zero emissions economy is already well underway. 

We have created jobs and backed innovative new industries while winning international respect for our ambition and leadership on climate change. Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions have already been reduced by almost half from the 1990 baseline.

The Paris Agreement will support a worldwide market for low carbon goods and services, as other countries have committed to reducing their carbon footprint. It will also enhance the long term international competitiveness of low carbon business in Scotland by ensuring that more eco-friendly business practices are adopted elsewhere.

Most of the low carbon economic activity in Scotland so far has been associated with the provision of renewables and low carbon electricity, but there is significant economic turnover for some other sectors, including provision of energy efficiency products and low carbon services.

Low carbon investments may provide an opportunity for more balanced regional development within Scotland. Beyond the opportunities presented by renewable technology, smaller businesses across Scotland will also benefit from engaging in climate change mitigation through energy efficiency and low carbon heat and by promoting sustainable practices.

By setting a 2045 target for net-zero emissions of all greenhouse gases, we continue to provide the necessary certainty and impetus to markets, businesses and industries to shift towards low-carbon technologies and practices.

Climate change and COVID-19

Despite the enormous challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global climate emergency has not gone away – far from it – and we remain absolutely committed to ending Scotland’s contribution to climate change by 2045. That is why we have committed to a ‘green recovery’ from COVID-19. This is an economic recovery that helps us toward net zero emissions in a way that is fair, and that maximises the opportunities to deliver a thriving, sustainable economy. The climate change plan update is a key strategic document on Scotland’s green recovery.

Independent advice

Committee on Climate Change

An independent statutory body, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), was established under the UK Climate Change Act 2008 to provide regular advice to the UK Government and devolved administrations on setting and meeting emissions targets and preparing for climate change. It also monitors and reports on the progress made to Parliament.

Just Transition Commission

A Just Transition Commission has been established to provide independent advice on a net-zero economy for Scotland that is fair for all. The Commission will report to Scottish Ministers with practical, realistic and affordable recommendations for action in early 2021, with an interim report in early 2020.

Climate Assembly

An independent Citizens’ Assembly on climate change has been established which is grounded in our legislation. Scotland’s Climate Assembly is bringing a group of over 100 people together who are broadly representative of the Scottish population. These Assembly Members are taking on the task of learning about, discussing and making recommendations on how Scotland can best tackle climate change. In 2021, the Assembly will report on the outcomes of their deliberations.

Bills and legislation

The Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019 received Royal Assent on 31 October 2019.  The Act amends the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 setting targets for the reduction of greenhouse gases emissions and makes provision about advice, plans and reports in relation to those targets. The objective is to contribute appropriately to the world’s efforts to deliver on the Paris Agreement reached at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

You can find more about the background to this Act in our website archive.


Email: climate.change@gov.scot

Twitter: Greener Together


Climate Change Division
Area 3F South
Victoria Quay