Scottish government to abandon pledge to cut carbon emissions 75% by 2030 | Greenhouse gas emissions

The Scottish government is to abandon its “world-leading” goal to cut carbon emissions by 75% by 2030, after repeatedly missing its legally binding targets.

Màiri Macallan, the Scottish net zero secretary, is expected to announce Scotland will instead follow the UK and Welsh government’s lead by adopting five yearly “carbon budgets”, in a significant policy climbdown.

The Scottish government came under intense criticism from the UK Climate Change Committee last month. It said the 2030 target was “no longer credible” because of slow and insufficient action on home heating, transport, farming and nature restoration.

Environment campaigners are furious about the move, which follows repeated claims by Nicola Sturgeon and Humza Yousaf, successive first ministers, that Scotland was a global leader on climate action.

Jamie Livingston, head of Oxfam Scotland, said: “With the world becoming a dirtier and deadlier place every day, any decision to rewrite Scotland’s climate rulebook would be an acute global embarrassment.

“It would also be the direct and damaging consequence of the Scottish government’s own dilly dallying on climate action.”

Ami McCarthy, a campaigner with Greenpeace UK, said: “Legislating to reduce Scotland’s climate ambition, fresh off the back of the planet’s hottest ever recorded 12-month period, is like striking a match in a petrol station. It might not set the whole thing ablaze immediately but it’s clearly a dangerous step to take.”

Yousaf has previously attacked the UK government and the Labour party for watering down their climate targets. In September 2023, he said it was “unforgivable” that the UK government was “rolling back on their climate pledges”.

In a post on X, the first minister added: “Scotland will continue to show global leadership in the face of the climate crisis.”

The Scottish government is now jointly run by the Scottish National party and the Scottish Greens, in a deal brokered by Nicola Sturgeon nearly three years ago. Tough action on climate was built into the Bute House agreement she signed with Patrick Harvie, the Scottish Greens co-leader.

Some climate groups have been told Macallan could announce a revised 2030 target of a 65% cut later on Thursday in a statement to the Scottish parliament, where she is also expected to set out plans to rush through new climate legislation.

The current Climate Change Act, which also sets annual targets, requires Scottish ministers to present a new plan to Holyrood by November. New legislation would be required to scrap those existing targets.

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