Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, became the first world leader to declare a climate emergency, in doing so she set the bar even higher, to achieve net zero carbon emissions for Scotland by 2045,
She was right to make this commitment. Climate change is the biggest crisis facing Governments across the world – whether they acknowledge it or not.
In setting out to make Scotland carbon neutral by 2040, the Scottish Government is, once again, showing leadership on an issue of global importance.
This ambitious target would see Scotland become carbon neutral a decade earlier than the rest of the UK – crucially these targets include aviation and marine emissions.
That said, there is always more to be done.
Climate change is back on the news because of the commitment shown by people like Greta Thunberg, the school strikers and the Extinction Rebellion protests, which brought traffic to a halt in major cities, to demand they become carbon neutral by 2025.
When I was Leader of the Highland Council, I initiated the ‘Carbon Clever’ programme with the intention of Inverness reach Carbon Neutral status by 2025. This was an achievable target, with good progress quickly made. Now, those running the Council must remain committed to delivering it.
As the SNP Business and Energy spokesperson at Westminster, I want to find common ground with the UK Government on this global issue. Instead, I am often left feeling frustrated at their irresponsible approach to our future energy market.
Like the failures on Carbon Capture and Storage, a system which is capable of capturing existing redundant oil and gas infrastructure to decarbonise fossil fuel.
A Scottish Government-backed Carbon Capture and Storage initiative was on track to be working by 2023, until the UK Government scrapped the project without warning – setting us back years.
Similarly, at the very time they should have been powering ahead on solar, with every suitable roof and space generating clean energy, they cut subsidies and incentives. Now we hear they are seeking to hike the cost of installation by increasing the VAT.
Scotland is a beacon of opportunity for tacking climate change, but there is still much more to do. With full powers over these decisions, just think how much more we could achieve.