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Scotland could become first UK nation to reach net-zero

Scotland can become the first UK nation to reach net-zero, according to a new report published by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC). 

Despite the ongoing uncertainty of COVID-19, a new report published today (October 8) has highlighted that Scotland is in a unique position to deliver a green recovery when it publishes its updated Climate Change Plan in November.

According to the report, Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions fell by 31% in the decade 2008-2018, faster than any other nation in the UK.

This was predominantly led by action in the power sector, where renewable energy has tripled and fossil-fuel generation has fallen by more than 70% in the past decade.

The CCC has highlighted that harnessing this progress could put Scotland ahead of the rest of the UK.

However, the authors of the report have highlighted that success is not a given, Scotland missed its annual emissions target in 2018 and the 2020 target is only likely to be met because of lockdown restrictions.

The report outlines that the Scottish government must:

  1. Develop a UK Emissions Trading System that is aligned to Net Zero, in partnership with the UK Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive.
  2.  Set out a vision for the future of low-carbon heating in Scotland’s homes and other buildings.
  3. Develop a new rural support scheme that builds towards Scotland’s climate goals.
  4. Make it easy for people to walk, cycle, use public transport, and work from home in Scotland, and ensure electric vehicle charging infrastructure and other enabling measures are in place to eliminate the need to buy a petrol or diesel car in Scotland by 2032 at the latest.
  5.  Accelerate investments in low-carbon and climate adaptation infrastructure to stimulate Scotland’s economy, build long-term productive capacity and improve climate resilience.

Lord Deben, chairman of the Committee on Climate Change, said: ‘Scotland faces an extraordinary challenge in dealing with COVID-19, but we must not lose sight of the climate crisis.

‘The decisions to secure a resilient recovery are pivotal. Scotland can no longer rely on electricity generation to reduce its emissions, so it must begin to make more meaningful progress in the other sectors of the economy.

‘To reach net-zero emissions ahead of the rest of the UK and to earn its stripes as an international climate leader when the world looks to Glasgow next year, decisive action and clear policies are urgently required.’

Photo Credit – Pixabay

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