Call for Strong Climate Change Bill

Cathy with local campaigner Norman Philp and a protesting penguin

Cathy with local campaigner Norman Philp and a protesting penguin

The Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee has called on the Scottish Government to speed up its fight against climate change. The committee’s stage 1 report on the Climate Change Bill has made strong recommendations that action to cut greenhouse gas emissions should be brought forward.

Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie, who is Deputy Convener of the Committee, said:

“I have been arguing within the committee for a stronger Bill that includes sustainability and other duties for local authorities and other public bodies. Our aim must be to adapt to climate change in a way that works with nature to benefit biodiversity, the economy and local communities. I am committed to achieving a reduction in carbon emissions of 3% every year between now and 2050. However, the 80% target by 2050 will not be possible if the Scottish Government does not make a start immediately. Early action is more effective action.

“The Scottish Government is under pressure from the committee, and has agreed to bring forward an interim target to cut pollution from 2030 to 2020. However, there is still no figure for the 2020 target and no firm target between now and 2019. Our report insists the government puts firm figures on the 2020 target and delivers significant early action between now and then.

“I believe the Scottish Government must focus its efforts on delivering early results, such as energy efficiency programmes for households to help people cut their fuel bills; improving public transport, transferring more freight to rail and sea, reducing commuter traffic and congestion, and promoting the use of green transport like electric cars. We have to play our part in tackling global warming and the government must set better goals if we are to cut emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.”

The Committee has recommended:

  • On a 2020 target – that new interim targets should be brought forward to 2020 and made more challenging.
  • On annual targets – that the Government should take early action to reduce emissions. Specifically recommending that the Government either specify more challenging annual targets between 2010 and 2020, or bring significantly forward the start date for 3% annual emissions reduction.
  • On including international aviation and shipping – that emissions from aviation and shipping be fully included in our emission reduction targets and additionally that there should be separate provisions covering aviation and shipping in the bill.
  • On public bodies – that the Government should create a general duty on public bodies to take account of climate change in their activities.
  • On meeting our targets in Scotland – that the Bill should include provisions to set a limit on buying overseas carbon credits to meet our emissions targets. This limit should be set by Ministers and subject to the approval of Parliament.
  • – that a mechanism for reporting on consumption should be established, which is in addition to, but separate from, the framework of targets set out in the Bill.

The report is available on


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