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by Jack Thomson
22 June 2021
Public audit has 'clear role to play' in tackling climate change, says auditor general

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Public audit has 'clear role to play' in tackling climate change, says auditor general

Audit Scotland has said it is committed to developing its approach and integrating climate change into its work.

Stephen Boyle, the auditor general, said public audit had "a clear role to play" in tackling climate change.

The Scottish Government is aiming to become net zero by 2045 - described as "one of the most ambitious and challenging emission targets" by Boyle.

It also has a series of interim targets, including a 75 per cent reduction by 2030 and 90 per cent by 2040.

Writing in an Audit Scotland blog, the auditor general said: "Tackling climate change is one of the greatest challenges we face – and public audit has a clear role to play.

"Experts have warned that urgent and decisive action is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonise how we live and work. 

"We also need to minimise the harm climate change is already causing by investing in adaptations like flood prevention and coastal defences.

"Scotland has one of the most ambitious and challenging emission targets – to become net zero by 2045.  It wants to get three quarters of the way towards net zero within the next eight years.

"That will mean big changes to everyone’s lives – the cars we drive, the food we eat, the ways we heat our homes and the holidays we take.

"The Scottish Government has also made it clear it wants an economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic that is achieved in an environmentally sound and sustainable way, with benefits for all of society. This will not be easy."

Boyle also said Audit Scotland was in a privileged position to scrutinise action and spending on climate change by public bodies, consider how well they are planning for and responding to the climate emergency, and use its expertise to provide assurance on how they are managing their actions on climate change.

He added: "This is obviously a huge task, and not one we are going to crack overnight or on our own. But we are committed to developing our approach and integrating climate change into our audit work.

"Our work here is developing and we are keeping under review how and where we can best add value to the efforts that everyone must make."

Audit Scotland scrutinises 223 public bodies in Scotland, including central government organisations, the Scottish Parliament, councils and 23 NHS organisations, to assess whether public money is being spent efficiently and effectively.

Read the most recent article written by Jack Thomson - Data circulation: Why access to information needs to be at the heart of cardiology

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