You may not know this, but Scotland is one of the world’s leaders when it comes to climate change and commitment to renewable energies.
For example, we’re already home to the world’s first floating offshore wind farm, called Hywind, situated of the north east coast and Orkney is home to the world's largest tidal turbine and the world's first grid-connected wave and tidal test centre. We’ve also had an ambitious and innovative hydro-electric programme in place since way back in the 1950s.
In 2017, over 68% of our electricity needs are met by renewables - our highest year yet. Simply put, Scotland has been facing up to this inconvenient truth for many years, and our steadfast determination to lead the world in making positive changes remains just as strong today as it ever has been.
This commitment is set to be reinforced yet again with the introduction of a tough new climate change bill. This new legislation is set to be the toughest in the world, emphasising Scotland’s dedication to tackling climate change and helping to protect our planet’s future.
The new climate change bill will set an immediate target of achieving a 90% reduction in greenhouse emissions by the year 2050. However, we’re not done there, and have the added intention to go to a full 100% reduction, known as ‘net-zero’ as soon as possible.
The fight against climate change is a moral responsibility that Scotland takes very seriously and that’s why we’re applying bringing forward one of the most stringent climate laws in the world. As well as doing good for the planet we live in, it will also boost the economic prospects in Scotland, as our academic and engineering expertise – coupled with our outstanding natural resources – provide excellent opportunities for everyone.
We know that 2050 is still a long way away, but to make sure that we increase our action immediately, we are introducing the world’s most ambitious interim targets, and keeping our approach of being held to account against annual targets by our Parliament every single year. Our existing targets are for a 42% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and an 80% reduction by 2050. The new, more ambitious targets will push this to 56% by 2020, 66% by 2030, 78% by 2040 and 90% by 2050.
Achieving this is going to take the work of everyone in Scotland and we’ll be looking to bring individuals, communities, businesses and government together to achieve these targets.
These targets balance our environmental, social and economic responsibilities and have the potential to create jobs and wealth across Scotland, creating new export and investment opportunities. Climate change is one of the defining challenges of our age and Scotland’s is determined to be ambitious, credible and responsible in the face of that challenge – which is exactly what the new Climate Change Bill delivers.