Scotland could achieve net zero emissions by 2045, study finds

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 23 January 2019 in News

The study, produced by Vivid Economics, said carbon sinks will play a crucial role in balancing remaining emissions

Image credit: Fotolia

Scotland could achieve net zero emissions by 2045, according to a new report commissioned by WWF Scotland.

The report, ‘A Climate of Possibility: Harnessing Scotland’s natural resources to end our contribution to climate change’, found that the power, transport and buildings sectors can all reach zero or near-zero emissions by 2045, while emissions in industry could be cut by 60 per cent without reducing productive capacity.

Meanwhile it forecast that the farming sector could reduce emissions by 35 per cent while maintaining current production levels.

The study, produced by Vivid Economics, said carbon sinks will play a crucial role in balancing remaining emissions.

The report comes after an IPCC report warned the world had a 12 year window in which to take action required to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change.

The Scottish Government has aimed for a 90 per cent emission reduction by 2050, alongside assurances that the net-zero target will be achieved as soon as possible.

Ministers will be required to keep the net-zero target date under review by seeking expert advice on the issue every five years.

Gina Hanrahan, head of policy at WWF Scotland, said: “We know that climate change is one of the biggest threats facing people and nature. To avoid the most dangerous consequences at home and abroad, we need to urgently cut our emissions and rapidly increase our carbon sinks through tree planting, restoring peatlands and improving the health of our soils.

“In the ten years since the previous climate change bill we’ve already reduced emissions by nearly half and made truly incredible progress in cutting the carbon from our power sector.

“There’s still much to be done to ensure everyone in Scotland is living in a warm, low carbon home, can breathe clean air and that we are producing the best of low carbon food.”

Publishing the report, Maarten Hage from Vivid Economics said Scotland’s large per capita land area meant it is “well placed to pursue emissions reductions through afforestation and other low carbon land management practices”.

Fabrice Leveque, senior policy manager at Scottish Renewables, welcomed the report.

He said: “WWF Scotland is right to say we are ‘laden with natural advantages’ for achieving net zero carbon emissions.

“Setting new target would affirm Scotland’s place at the forefront of climate change action and send a strong signal to business that we need to cut emissions more quickly and deeply than ever before across Scotland’s energy system.

“New evidence from the IPCC last year on the timeline we have available to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change explains why we need to act now.

“The falling cost of renewables, coupled with Government support and a focus on innovation, are the tools we need to hit a net zero emission target which would build on the successes of Scotland’s world-leading renewables industry.”

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