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A Clearer Picture of Scotland’s Roadmap to ‘Net Zero’

The Scottish Government is all geared up to meet its legally binding net-zero goal through wind energy and consultations. These measures are an answer to the Climate Change Bill approved by the Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) a couple of months ago.

The MSPs have agreed to a 75% reduction on emissions by 2030 and net zero by 2045, a five-year headstart as opposed to the UK Government’s 2050 target

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has issued a statement saying that decisive action taken throughout the year will likely determine where the government will stand on its net zero goal in the next 25 years

The legislation

MSPs successfully passed the Climate Change Bill by 113 votes to zero last December at  Holyrood. It signifies their agreement to a net zero emission target by 2045, and a 75% reduction of emissions by 2030, which is the steepest statutory target among other countries across the globe.

The country’s decision calls for strict measures, including offsetting remaining emissions through planting trees and other helpful courses of action that will bring it closer to the goal.

Roseanna Cunningham, Scottish Climate Change secretary, stated that the Climate Change Bill proves Scotland’s determination to be an international leader for climate action. She cited the country’s direct response to the Paris Agreement by placing a robust framework for its statutory target and setting legally binding goals as a commitment to bringing emissions on net zero.

Cunningham also expressed the Scottish Government’s intent to use all relevant policy lever at their disposal to meet the challenge. She added that Scotland has chosen to consider the maximum possible action to drive the change that the world needs.

Pathway to net-zero

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The Scottish Government has already set in motion several actions that will help the nation meet its carbon-neutral goal. It has authorised two consultations to make the pipeline aware of future offshore wind energy capacity plans and the country’s role in establishing a net-zero status.

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The Offshore Wind Policy Statement draft and Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind Energy draft have been the subject of the consultations. These drafts outline the government’s resolve to maximise opportunities presented by offshore wind. It also aims to inform the next schedule of seabed leasing in Scottish waters intended for offshore wind.

The two consultations are open for 14 weeks, which started last December 18, 2019, until March 25th of this year.

Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse stated that the government is determined to see its goal by 2045 through leveraging the offshore wind sector in terms of floating wind technologies and fixed foundation. He also recognised the need for an expansion of its renewable energy supply to foster the decarbonisation of transport and heat systems.

Statement by the CCC

The Committee on Climate Change expressed the crucial role of Scotland’s policies on climate change across the economy. It acknowledged the importance of decisive action to meet the 2045 net-zero ambition.

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The CCC stressed that the pathway to the target would be determined by the course of action and decisions made over the year. It will likely shape the next 25 years of Scotland’s decarbonisation status.

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The committee believes that the upcoming COP26 will also provide a significant opportunity to reduce emissions and influence global ambition. It warned about missing the 56% emission cutback interim target for 2020 if the government fails to reduce emissions across the whole economy. It also noted the need for much steeper actions to achieve the country’s ambitious goals.

The CCC also suggested that immediate steps to meet the extremely challenging Scottish Parliament’s 75% target by 2030 is required.

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The committee’s report highlighted the possibility of drastic emission reductions by sustaining the trajectory and delivering new measures like green finance and transport and new-build homes to the real world.

It also called for an increase in energy efficiency measures and tree planting rates to help the nation step up and meet its goal

CCC Chairman Lord Deben said that the country had outperformed other UK neighbors in the economy clean up, chalking it up to the rapid phase-out of its fossil fuel. He believes that eyeing the same progress for different sectors can lead to a carbon-neutral economy.