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by Liam Kirkaldy
02 June 2015
Patrick Harvie slams Scottish Government action on climate change

Patrick Harvie slams Scottish Government action on climate change

Patrick Harvie has demanded stronger action from the Scottish Government to help Scotland hit its emissions targets.

Scotland has failed to meet targets for three years in a row, with the Government expected to announce that the 2013 target has also been missed next week.

Harvie said: “The public want a greener Scotland with sustainable transport, efficient housing and clean energy. Sadly, the current Scottish Government has paid lip service to our ambitious climate change targets.

“Today's response from the environment secretary was more of the same, stressing how challenging the targets are. As we look set to fail our fourth target in a row, we need a transformational policy agenda at Holyrood. We cannot talk about possible action any longer; it's time to start delivering.”

Responding to questions from Harvie in the Parliament, Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “Scotland has set itself stretching international targets on our pathway to a 42 per cent reduction in emissions by 2020, and we have been open and honest about the challenges that we face in achieving the reductions that climate science tells us are necessary.”

He added: “We recognise that the targets have to be achieved, and we are taking every step possible to achieve them. When we put the innovative and trailblazing Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 through the Parliament, I think that we all accepted that the act’s early years were going to be particularly challenging in the context of having annual targets, which are unique to the Parliament.”

While Scotland has cut emissions further than the UK average, the 2012 result saw a net rise of 0.5 per cent, which the UK Committee on Climate Change (CCC) put down to increased heating demand and an increased use of coal.

The CCC recommended a list of measures the Scottish Government could take to reduce emissions, including encouraging use of low-carbon heating and investment in energy efficiency and greener transport.

Speaking at the Stop Climate Chaos rally last week, Dr Aileen McLeod defended Scottish Government efforts, arguing that “if our targets were easy to meet, they would not be ambitious enough.”

Scotland's emissions rose by 400,000 tonnes between 2011 and 2012, despite the Government targeting a 178,000 tonne drop. In order to meet the next target Scotland will need to see an eight million tonne cut in emissions.

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