Scotland politics

Scottish government updates climate plan

The Scottish Government has published its latest climate change plans, designed to ensure Scotland achieves its legally-binding greenhouse gas reduction targets.

The publication of the government's report on proposals and policies (RPP) has brought a joint call from opposition parties for greater clarity.

They claimed that the Scottish government has failed to meet targets and needs to look again at policies across all departments.

First Minister Alex Salmond announced he wanted the electricity industry to cut its emissions by 80% by 2030.

Minister for Environment and Climate Change Paul Wheelhouse said: "Scotland is at the top of the European league table for emissions reductions and is recognised for leading the way across the UK, Europe and the rest of the world in tackling climate change."

Patrick Harvie, the co-convener of the Scottish Greens, said: "This is clearly a government in denial about the problem. It needs to start putting its money where its mouth is. Ministers continue to pin hopes on unpopular ideas like electric vehicles and unproven technology like carbon capture.

"It is appalling that the defining issue of our age is treated with such contempt."

'Not being marketed'

Scotland's other opposition parties criticised the details which had emerged before the official announcement.

Scottish Labour's climate change spokeswoman, Claire Baker, said: "It is disappointing that we find ourselves in a situation where Scotland is failing in its ambition to meet its climate change targets.

"It is therefore imperative that the second report on proposals and policies delivers the step-change needed to get our country back on course."

The Scottish Conservatives have suggested tax incentives should be used more effectively.

Spokesman Murdo Fraser said: "Parliament passed some legislation three or four years ago for green council tax discounts whereby people who can demonstrate their homes are insulated to a high standard will get a discount on their council tax.

"That is not being applied and it's certainly not being marketed."

Tavish Scott, who speaks on the environment for the Scottish Liberal Democrats, said: "After missing its first climate change target, the Scottish Government must use the report on proposals and policies to ensure all ministers are working within their portfolio to reduce emissions.

"Almost half of all carbon emissions come from housing and transport sectors, but recently we learned that the Scottish government is rolling back its plans to make new builds more energy efficient."

Carbon emissions target

Ahead of the report's publication, First Minister Alex Salmond announced that a target has been set to cut carbon emissions from electricity generation by more than four-fifths by 2030.

At the Scottish Renewables-Scottish Enterprise Offshore Wind and Supply Chain Conference in Aberdeen, he also revealed the signing of new memorandums of understanding between Highland & Islands Enterprise (HIE) and four key ports in the region to support the development of the offshore wind sector.

The partnership aims to help the ports - Port of Ardersier, Kishorn Port Limited and Cromarty Firth Port Authority and Global Energy Nigg - attract a potential £100m of investment to the Highlands.

Mr Salmond said the huge market for offshore wind beyond 2020 was underlined by the new carbon emissions target.

In 2010, emissions from electricity grid activity in Scotland were estimated to amount to 347 grams of carbon dioxide per Kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity generated.

A target of 50g of CO2/kWh by 2030 - in line with independent advice from the UK Committee on Climate Change - is contained within Scotland's revised offshore wind route map and also in the draft second report on proposals and polices.

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