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Scottish Government Unveils Ambitious Climate Action Package

Scotland Net Zero climate action 2024
© Scotland

The Scottish Government has unveiled a comprehensive package of climate action measures, signalling an intensified effort to combat climate change across various sectors, particularly in transport and land use.

Among the key initiatives announced is a significant expansion of electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, aimed at bolstering the transition towards cleaner transportation. This initiative forms part of a broader climate package that includes the implementation of an integrated ticketing system for all public transport services.

In the realm of agriculture and land use, the government plans to introduce a new carbon tax targeting large estates. This measure aims to incentivise activities such as peatland restoration, tree planting, and renewable energy generation. Additionally, pilot projects will explore innovative approaches to reduce emissions from livestock, including the use of specialised feedstuffs.

Màiri McAllan, the Net Zero Secretary, reiterated the Scottish Government’s steadfast commitment to achieving net zero emissions by 2045. As part of this commitment, new legislation will be introduced to establish multi-year ‘Carbon budgets,’ replacing the existing annual targets. This shift follows the recent acknowledgment by the UK-wide Climate Change Committee that the 2030 emissions reduction target is unattainable and will no longer be statutory.

The government’s actions are in response to the Climate Change Committee’s 2023 progress report for Scotland, which called for more ambitious efforts from both the Scottish and UK Governments. Specific actions outlined in the package include the publication of a route map to install approximately 24,000 additional EV charging points by 2030, the development of an integrated ticketing system for public transport, and the piloting of methane-suppressing food products to mitigate emissions from livestock.

Furthermore, consultations will be conducted on the introduction of a carbon tax targeting large estates to drive ecosystem restoration and renewable energy initiatives. Efforts to reduce car dependency are also prioritised, with a target to decrease car usage by 20% by 2030.

Moreover, plans for a Just Transition strategy for the Mossmorran industrial site are underway, aiming to navigate the transition to a low-carbon economy in collaboration with plant operators, the workforce, and the local community.

Scotland’s progress towards net zero is commendable, with the nation already halfway to achieving this goal and surpassing the UK average in decarbonisation efforts. Notable achievements include the significant share of electricity generated from zero or low carbon sources in 2022 and the substantial contribution to new woodland creation in the UK. Additionally, over two million Scots are now eligible for free bus travel, further encouraging sustainable transportation alternatives.