Message from Roseanna Cunningham
Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform
In 2009, the Scottish Parliament passed the most ambitious climate change legislation anywhere in the world at the time, and in May 2018 the Scottish Government introduced a new Bill that increases that ambition even further. The Scottish Government’s new Climate Change Bill proposes a 90% reduction target for all greenhouse gases which means net zero emissions of carbon dioxide by 2050, in other words Scotland will be carbon neutral. In February 2018 we published our statutory Climate Change Plan, which sets out the actions we will take to reduce emissions by 66% by 2032. This document provides a summary of the full Climate Change Plan.
Tackling climate change is a moral responsibility but it is also an economic opportunity. Low carbon technologies will revolutionise the global economy and, in order to grasp these economic opportunities, we must act quickly and with purpose or be left behind. As the First Minister of Scotland said at the annual United Nations climate change conference in Bonn in November 2017, ‘our ambitions must live up to the scale of the challenge, and our actions must live up to our ambitions’. Our Climate Change Plan sets out our domestic plans to ensure we continue to be leaders and collaborators in global action to tackle climate change.
In finalising our Climate Change Plan, my Cabinet colleagues and I selected an emissions reduction path that we believe is the most beneficial to the people of Scotland, maximising opportunities and minimising disruption for households, communities, business and industry. We used the Scottish TIMES model to help us decide how best to reduce emissions across the economy by using a pathway broken down into emissions envelopes by sector. A summary of our approach, and the effort we expect each sector to undertake, is laid out in this document.
Clearly, our ambitious plans cannot and should not be delivered by Government alone. Every household and every organisation has a role to play. Our aim is to enable and support the changes required now, as well as stimulating the innovation and creativity required for the future. Of course we cannot predict with certainty exactly how we will achieve all of our ambitions through to 2032. We do not know how global and regional market forces will evolve or how some technologies will develop. Our role is to chart a path through this uncertainty – putting the welfare of our people, the health of our economy, and the protection and enhancement of our natural environment at the heart of our transformation. The Climate Change Plan is a step along this path.
This is an exciting time for Scotland, and we look forward to working with our partners both here and abroad on what is one of the defining challenges of our time.
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