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by Louise Wilson
20 March 2024
Net zero secretary refuses to commit to publishing fresh climate plan ahead of deadline

Mairi McAllan said the government was "actively considering all options" on climate change | Alamy

Net zero secretary refuses to commit to publishing fresh climate plan ahead of deadline

Scottish net zero secretary Mairi McAllan has refused to commit to fast-tracking the publication of the government’s climate change plan following a damning report stating Scotland would not meet its 2030 target.

The Climate Change Committee (CCC) has said that reducing emissions to reach that target – a 75 reduction from the 1990 baseline – was “beyond what is credible”.

Raising the report in the chamber, Tory MSP Maurice Golden said the Scottish Government was to blame given the CCC highlight risk in all areas where power is devolved.

He added: “Given the scale of the emergency, will the cabinet secretary commit to introducing a climate change plan before the mandatory deadline of November this year?”

He also asked whether the Scottish Government was preparing to abandon its 2030 target.

McAllan said she would not commit to delivering the plan before the deadline.

The Scottish Government’s plan was set to be published last year but was delayed. The postponement was blamed on the UK Government, with ministers saying more time was needed following an announcement by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

The cabinet secretary added: “We are actively considering all options in respect of the views on the Climate Change Committee as set out today, including legislation.”

She went on to criticise the UK Government, particularly its support for the opening of new coalmines and “failing to commission” new on and offshore wind projects.

She also accused the Scottish Conservatives of “standing in the way of even modest measures”, including low emission zones, the workplace parking levy and the deposit return scheme.

Labour’s Sarah Boyack said the report made clear that Scotland has lost its position as a climate leader since the first Climate Change Act was passed 15 years ago.

She called on First Minister Humza Yousaf to make an emergency statement on the matter.

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