Nations around the world could learn much from Scotland, a country that reached its gutsy greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal six years ahead of target. In a recent press release, the Scottish government relayed that “a reduction of 45.8 percent” was reached in 2014, and this is mainly because the area experienced a warm winter in 2014.
Roseanna Cunningham, the climate change secretary, told the press that between 1990 and 2014, Scotland reduced its emissions by a whopping 46%. Comparatively, emissions in the rest of the UK since 1990 have fallen by only 33%.
According to Stop Climate Chaos Scotland spokesperson Jim Densham, the country was able to meet its emission reduction goal 6 years early because of a toasty winter. This happened despite the fact that emissions from the transportation sector remain the same as in 1990, and that emissions from the housing sector have actually increased by 1%.
He told The Guardian:
“Apart from the electricity and waste sectors, it’s hard to see a bold fingerprint of Scottish government policy driving the transition to a zero-carbon economy. This target has been met because of the loss of heavy industry, warmer winter weather, our changing share of European emissions credits and some government policies.
While reaching the “symbolic goal” is something to celebrate, Densham warns that the government needs to pass legislation to ensure the country continues on course with lowering its carbon output.
“Individual action is important but Scottish government needs to lead with the big policies for major emission reductions. The challenge ahead is to tackle the sectors where there’s been little change to date.”
Mark Ruskell, Green Party Parliament member relays that if the government hopes to set greater targets for 2020, they need to address “home energy efficiency” and fuel poverty. Transportation policies will also need ambitious reform, he says.
“The real test of action on climate change isn’t how figures get fudged from year to year; it’s whether people across Scotland have real choices to live in warm, efficient homes or a transport system fit for the 21st century. That requires funding and action from the Scottish government,” said Ruskell.
By 2050, the Scottish government aims for an 80% reduction in emissions. Its 2020 goal has been met, let’s see if the country succeeds at lowering it carbon output to benefit the entire planet and, in effect, future generations.
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