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12-point plan to tackle 'climate emergency' unveiled

Scottish ministers have set the goal of achieving 'net-zero' greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.

Traffic: A plan has been unveiled.
Traffic: A plan has been unveiled. PA

Business leaders and environmentalists have created a 12 point plan of steps it says the Scottish Government should take to tackle climate change.

The Climate Emergency Response Group (CERG) said action was needed to ensure temperatures did not rise 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, with experts warning there were just 12 years left to avoid breaching that.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon declared a climate emergency in April and Scottish ministers have set the goal of achieving "net-zero" greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.

The CERG proposes steps such as signalling that every one of Scotland's city centres will be vehicle emission free by 2030 and enhancing building standards to deliver zero-carbon homes and buildings.

It also suggests producing advice for the public on sustainable, climate-friendly, healthy diets and mobilising the £11bn of annual public procurement to "support the product and service innovation the climate emergency response needs".

Claire Mack, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said: "We are already witnessing the effects of climate change, and now is the moment when we must accelerate our response if we are to avoid the worst effects and secure the many social and economic benefits of moving to a climate neutral economy.

"This is the time for us all to support strong changes to policy and programmes in response to the climate emergency, and this report sets out our initial recommendations for the Scottish Government's leadership role.

'This is the time for us all to support strong changes to policy and programmes in response to the climate emergency'
Claire Mack, chief executive of Scottish Renewables

"The adoption of these policies by the Scottish Government would demonstrate world-leading commitment, slashing our emissions and showing where the rest of the world can follow us."

The 12 proposals also include the creation of a £100m Agricultural Modernisation fund and accelerating Scotland's energy efficiency retrofit scheme.

Teresa Bray, chief executive of Changeworks, said: "Scotland has a proud record of leading the way. We did so in the industrial revolution, now it is time for us to do so in the face of a climate emergency.

"The International Panel on Climate Change has said that we have just 12 years left to get ourselves on a pathway to avoid breaching 1.5 degrees of warming, a disaster for people and nature.

"That's only 2000 working days - an extreme time scale to accelerate action.

"But, as the actions we are recommending show, it is achievable and can be a huge social and economic opportunity for Scotland."

The other organisations supporting CERG are Climate-KIC, Confor, Energy Saving Trust, Everwarm, Jacobs, Locogen, NHS National Services Scotland, Scottish Council for Development and Industry, Scottish Land & Estates, Sustainable Scotland Network, Star Renewable Energy, Sunamp Heat Batteries, Sustrans, University of Edinburgh, Vegware, WWF Scotland and 2050 Climate Group.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "The Scottish Government is a world leader in tackling climate change and we are committed to ending Scotland's contribution to this, definitively, within a generation.

"As part of our response to the global climate emergency, we are putting climate change at the heart of our Programme for Government and will be announcing details of this shortly.

"We continue to look across our whole range of responsibilities to make sure we continue with the policies that are working and identify areas where we can go further, faster.

"We will meanwhile update our Climate Change Plan within six months of the Climate Change Bill receiving Royal Assent, ensuring our longer-term actions match our ambitions.

"We are also clear, however, that the scale of the transition to becoming a net-zero society means we cannot take a knee-jerk, piecemeal approach - nor can Government do this alone.

"We all - governments, businesses, communities and individuals - need to work together to end Scotland's contribution to climate change and seize the opportunities that this creates."

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