Scotland has committed to become one of the first countries to achieve a 100 per cent reduction in carbon emissions, according to Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham.
The net-zero target date – part of the new Climate Change Bill which currently hosts a 90 per cent target by 2050 – is under review and will be reassessed every five years, before being made legally-binding as soon as there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate the date is ‘credible and achievable’.
The new Bill will have the ‘most ambitious interim targets in the world’ – being stretched each year – meaning action would need to increase immediately, Ms Cunningham added.
“Our 90 per cent target will be tougher even than the 100 per cent goal by a handful of other countries because our legislation will set more demanding, legally-binding, annual targets covering every sector of our economy,” she said.
“By 2030, we will cut emissions by two-thirds and, unlike any other nations, we will not use carbon offsetting, where other countries are paid to cut emissions for us, to achieve our goal.
“The fight against climate change is a moral responsibility by Scotland’s academic and engineering expertise, coupled with our outstanding natural resources, mean it is also an economic opportunity.”
NFU president Andrew McCornick said the union was ‘keen to step up’ and play its part as a key industry in rural Scotland to help meet the new targets.
He said a few examples already in the sector included peatlands management, testing of soils and expansion in precision farming.
“Scotland’s farmers and crofters are on the front line in experiencing the impacts of climate change, with shifting weather patterns impacting directly on their ability to produce food,” Mr McCornick said.
“Like other industries, agriculture is continually striving to produce more with less – thereby mitigating the effects of climate change by reducing its emission output whilst helping to provide food security.
“Farming is a biological process and therefore zero emissions from production is not possible.
“We will work with Scottish government in a constructive manner to develop and progress policies that reduce carbon emissions from farming and allow the industry to grow and become profitable.”
Scotland’s existing targets are for a 42 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and an 80 per cent reduction by 2050. New interim targets include 56 per cent by 2020, 66 per cent by 2030 and 78 per cent by 2040.