A couple of years ago, the Scottish government unveiled a massive £26 billion plan to invest in infrastructure across Scotland. However, they never released an evaluation of how this plan would impact the environment and climate change. The Good Law Project and the Environmental Rights Centre for Scotland (ERCS) have recently sent a letter to the Scottish government, demanding action to address this issue or face legal consequences for violating their responsibilities under the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009.
Last week, lawyers representing the Scottish government acknowledged their error and confirmed that they are taking urgent steps to rectify it as soon as possible. They now realize the need to address the plan’s current targets for reducing emissions. Additionally, they must analyze the expected emissions resulting from the implementation of the infrastructure investment plan. This assessment should determine whether the plan will make it easier or more challenging for Scotland to achieve its current emissions reduction goals.
Scotland aims to achieve net zero emissions by 2045, with interim targets of reducing emissions by 75% by 2030 and 90% by 2040, compared to 1990 carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide levels. For hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulphur hexafluoride, and nitrogen trifluoride, the baseline is set at 1995 levels.
Dr Shivali Fifield, chief officer at ERCS, expressed some optimism about the government’s admission of their failure. However, she also voiced concerns about the additional time they’re taking to publish a climate impact assessment for a plan that is already in motion.
Emma Dearnaley, legal director at Good Law Project, commended the transparency of the Scottish government in recognizing their mistake and committing to quickly address and rectify the situation.
Excerpt: The Scottish government’s failure to address the climate impact of its infrastructure investment plan has been called out by environmental organizations, leading to government acknowledgment and a commitment to take swift action.