Scottish Government plans to cut spending on climate change mitigation
The Scottish Government plans to cut spending on climate change mitigation by nearly 10 per cent, according to new analysis by WWF Scotland.
In October, Dr Aileen McLeod, Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, told parliament: “We will ensure that climate change is a top priority through a cabinet agreement to embed it in the autumn budget process”.
But Scottish Government figures show spending on measures aimed at reducing domestic greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced from £502m in 2015/16, to £456.2m in the 2016/17 draft budget.
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The proposed £456.2m in spending on climate change mitigation makes up 1.23 per cent of the total draft budget.
Meanwhile the draft budget will see fuel poverty and energy efficiency spending reduced from £119m in 2015/16 to £103.3m for 2016/17, a 13.19 per cent reduction.
Almost half of Scotland’s climate change emissions come from heating homes and businesses.
Lang Banks, director of WWF Scotland said: “These new figures undermine the Scottish Government’s claim to have embedded climate change in its draft budget. With the Paris conference having demonstrated increased international commitment to tackling climate change, we should be stepping up our action not pulling back.
“If we’re to secure the economic and social benefits of being at the forefront of global action on climate change, the Scottish Government must invest in Scotland’s low carbon future.
“It‘s particularly disappointing that the Scottish Government is reducing funding for energy efficiency programmes, despite its commitment last year to make energy efficiency a National Infrastructure Priority. Reversing this decision would be one clear way to better embed climate change in this budget, whilst also helping to tackle fuel poverty and create jobs.”
The 2009 Climate Change (Scotland) Act, established a framework to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 42 per cent by 2020, with an 80 per cent reduction target for 2050.
Speaking to Holyrood in November, in the run up to the Paris climate change talks, McLeod said: “Between 2010 and 2013, the percentage reduction we have achieved has exceeded those we set out in the trajectory to making the 42 per cent reduction by 2020. Scotland’s emissions have fallen by 38.4 per cent from the 1990 baseline. We are more than three-quarters of the way towards meeting the 2020 target.
“We are on track and that is a message we should focus on, it is a fantastic achievement made possible by action taken across Scotland. I know there is no room for complacency; we do recognise the challenges in meeting Scotland’s annual targets.”