Scottish Government Climate Change Plan

October 2019

The Scottish Government's Climate Change Plan has been developed following the passing of the  Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, which created a framework for achieving greenhouse gas emissions reductions and set an interim target of at least a 42% cut by 2020 and at least 80% cut by 2050. It required the Scottish Ministers to set annual targets in secondary legislation in batches for the period 2010 to 2050.

After setting each batch of annual targets, section 35 of the Act requires Ministers to produce a plan outlining specific policies and proposals  ('Report on Policies and Proposals') for meeting those targets, and describing how these policies and proposals contribute to the 2020 and 2050 targets. 

In accordance with this requirement a 'Draft third report on policies  
and proposals 2017-2032'
was published in January 2017, and TBI submitted a detailed response to this written by the then Convenor Martin Sherring.  An updated final version of this report was published in February 2018.  (For some reason, in contrast to the draft, this version was presented in a two-column format with no paragraph numbering, which makes it difficult to read the document on screen and impossible to refer to specific parts of the report).

The 2009 Act was amended by the The Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (ScotlandAct 2019, which sets targets to reduce Scotland's emissions of all greenhouse gases to net-zero by 2045 at the latest, with interim targets for reductions of at least 56% by 2020, 75% by 2030, 90% by 2040.  The bill was introduced in May 2018 and in March 2019 the Environment, Climate Change and Land reform Committee published a detailed First Stage Report  (PDF 206pp).  During its passage through Parliament the bill was significantly strengthened under pressure from opposition parties (see below).  A great deal of further documentation and correspondence is available.

This Act was passed by the Parliament on 25th September 2019 and received Royal Assent on 31st October 2019.

September 2019

Climate Change bill strengthened in Parliament

The Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill was passed by the Scottish Parliament on 25 September, after having been significantly strengthened during the parliamentary process, though insufficiently in the view of the Scottish Greens and others.

As originally tabled in May 2018 the bill increased the 2050 target for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from 80% to 90%, and proposed new targets for 2020, 2030 and 2040.  No target was proposed for achieving 'net-zero' emissions.  In its final form the 2050 target has been abandoned, and following advice from the UK Committee on Climate Change the government proposed a 'net-zero' target date of 2045.  Labour and Lib Dem proposals to increase the original 70% reduction target for 2030 to 75% were accepted, but the Greens' attempt to increase that figure to 80% was defeated.  As a result the Greens abstained in the final vote which saw the bill passed by 113 votes to 0.

BBC News report  25 September 2019

Friends of the Earth Scotland commentary  by Caroline Rance.

Scottish Government  Revised Explanatory Notes 10 September (PDF 20 pages)

Scottish Government  Full text of the bill  (PDF 32 pages).



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