NGOs question Scotland’s climate change plans

A coalition of NGOs has questioned the Scottish Government’s commitment to climate action a day after a raft of new proposals were announced.

A decarbonisation target of 80% by 2030 was set for the electricity sector yesterday along with proposals to expand renewable energy production, protect carbon-rich peatlands and plant new forests.

The country also hopes to generate more than 100% of its electricity demand from renewables to boost its electricity export capacities.

A statement by Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, a coalition of NGOs including WWF, RSPB, Christian Aid and Oxfam, said the proposals lacking detail on specific policy ideas and funding.

“It is extremely worrying to see the lack of ambition demonstrated by the Scottish Government when it comes to reducing our climate emissions. We have the strongest climate laws in the world and the Government has gone to great efforts to highlight this example globally,” said Tom Ballantine, Chair of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland.

First Minister Alex Salmond has placed Scotland’s ambitious renewable energy targets at the centre of his party’s manifesto

“Sadly, missing the first climate target last year does not appear to have been the wake-up call needed for Ministers to put fresh impetus into their climate action plans. This new plan does little to reassure us that early action will be taken to meet future targets, putting Scotland’s credibility at risk at home and abroad.”

Policies on transport came under fire despite the announcement of an additional £200m in funding.

“The plans for transport are even worse than in the previous plan. They have decided to delay action on cutting transport emissions until 2025, in the vain hope that they can pluck something out of the air in the final three years,” said Colin Howden, director of Transform Scotland.

“Under this government, we’ve seen a 40% increase in roads spending while the funds devoted to sustainable transport have remained static,” said Howden.

Efforts to increase carbon sequestration by planting new forests and protecting carbon rich peat landscapes were welcomed with one caveat.

“Scotland’s peatland is globally important for biodiversity but restoring degraded peat bogs has additional wider benefits including securing the vast amounts of carbon stored in the peat soils,” said Stuart Housden, Director of RSPB Scotland who added that they “await details on what funding will be put in place” to carry out the proposals set out yesterday.

RTCC VIDEO: Paul Wheelhouse, Ministry for Environment and Climate Change, Scotland

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