Positive Steps Against Climate Change
In June, it was announced that Scotland had reached it’s 2020 target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 42% six years early. The target was originally set by the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, in which an initial emission reduction target was set at 42% for 2020, while the emission reduction target for 2050 was set at 80%. Although the statistics indicate a positive step in the right direction, the question now is: what steps must be taken in order for Scotland to try and meet it’s 2050 emission target?
The 2014 greenhouse gas emissions statistics, released on June 14th this year, showed that Scotland’s adjusted emissions were down from 45.8% from the 1990 baseline. Adjusted emissions are used to track Scotland’s progress in reaching their climate targets. According to Keep Scotland Beautiful, the report also indicates Scotland met it’s fixed annual emissions reduction target for 2014, that was set at 46.958MT CO2e. The adjusted emissions show this is a 12.5% reduction in Scotland’s emissions between 2013 and 2014. There is also also a reduction in source emissions, as the statistics show it being down 39.5% from 1990 baseline. During this time the whole of the UK also recorded a decrease of 33%.
These statistics show that Scotland didn’t just reach it’s target but also surpassed them. But having reached their targets six years early what steps should now be taken? Back in March, The Committee on Climate Change, having reviewed Scotland’s Progress in reaching it’s emission targets, recommended that for the year of 2030 emissions targets should be set at 61%. This new target for 2030 would be realistic and in line with the Climate Change (Scotland) Act, and would also reflect the goals set by the Paris agreement last year. In order to meet this target, the Committee on Climate Change put forward a couple of recommended actions:
- That by the year 2030, 65% of new car and van sales should consist of low emission (electric) vehicles;
- Afforestation – which would require 16,000 hectors per of new forest planting;
- Electricity decarbonisation – this target involves reducing emissions from 220 gCO2/kWh to 50 gCO2/kWh. This could be achieved through the expansion and extended use of renewable energy.
In order to raise more awareness, this year Scotland will have it’s first National Climate Week, taking place 16th – 23rd of September. Last year, the Scottish Government organised a climate week in preparation for COP21 that was held in Paris. This year National Climate Week will take place across Scotland. During this week various organisations and groups will be holding events and activities that aim to show the significance of reducing emissions and taking action against climate change. The events will consist of various activities such as bike tours, presentations, workshops and electric vehicle demonstrations.
Scotland is taking positive steps towards it’s emission targets, however a lot more hard work will need to be done in order to meet the targets set for 2050. Meeting these targets will take time but by setting realistic goals and by raising public awareness through annual weeks, action against climate change can continue to go in a positive direction.|