An influential committee has slammed the Scottish Government’s progress towards its net zero targets as ‘no longer credible’ in a damning report.

A newly published assessment by the independent Climate Change Committee (CCC) has found that continued delays to the updated climate change plan and further slippage in promised climate policies mean that the CCC no longer believes the Scottish Government will meet its statutory 2030 goal to reduce emissions by 75%.

It argues there is no comprehensive strategy for Scotland to decarbonise towards net zero.

The Scottish Government delayed its draft Climate Change Plan last year despite the 2030 target only being six years away.

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This has left a significant period without sufficient actions or policies to reach the target - the required acceleration in emissions reduction in Scotland is now beyond what is credible.

Professor Piers Forster, interim chair of the CCC said: “Scotland has laudable ambitions to decarbonise, but it isn’t enough to set a target - the government must act.

“There are risks in all reviewed areas, including those with significant policy powers devolved to the Scottish Government.

“Scotland’s Climate Change Plan needs to be published urgently, so we can assess it. We need to see actions that will deliver on its future targets.”

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Scotland missed its annual target for 2021, the eighth time in the past 12 years that they have missed a target.

The only sectors to reduce emissions in 2021 were electricity supply and industry. Most key indicators of delivery progress, such as tree planting, peatland restoration rates and heat pump installations are off track.

The CCC says there is a path to Scotland’s post 2030 targets, but stronger action is needed to reduce emissions across the economy.

The transport and buildings sectors will require a particularly rapid increase in the rate of emissions reduction to meet the targets set out in the last Climate Change Plan update (2020 CCPu).

In terms of agriculture and land use in Scotland, woodland creation needs to double its recent rate, while peatland restoration would need to triple the current rate required to reach the Scottish Government target, which remains less ambitious than the CCC’s.

Only three of the 14 key recommendations from the CCC’s 2022 Scottish Progress Report scored ‘good progress’. Two scored ‘moderate progress’, seven scored ‘some but insufficient progress’, and two made ‘no progress’ at all.

The CCC added: “This is a crucial time for net zero in Scotland. The handling of plans to close the Grangemouth refinery underlines the risk of omitting meaningful dialogue between communities, industry, and government and the important role of the Scottish Government in ensuring a just transition towards net zero.

“Further delay to the Scottish Government’s draft Climate Change Plan will prevent further progress on these strategic issues.”

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Other areas where progress needs urgent improvement are buildings and transport.

For buildings, the 2020 CCPu requires emissions from heating buildings to decrease by 71% by 2030, meaning the annual emissions reduction rate must increase by almost a factor of ten.

In terms of transport, the 2020 CCPu requires Scotland’s transport emissions to decrease by 44% by 2030, meaning the annual emissions reduction rate must increase by almost a factor of four.

Scotland has an extremely stretching target to reduce car-kilometres by 20% on 2019 levels by 2030, but the CCC points out that a clear strategy on how this will be achieved is still missing.

Opposition parties have lined up to criticise the SNP/Green coalition.

Labour’s Sarah Boyack said: “The SNP’s environmental record is made up of empty rhetoric, missed targets and broken promises, and the Scottish Green Party is no longer worthy of the name.

“This lack of progress is not only an environmental travesty but an economic one too, with jobs and communities being put at risk by a clueless government with no strategy.”

Douglas Lumsden for the Scottish Tories said: “This utterly damning report highlights once again that the SNP-Green government’s lofty rhetoric on climate change masks a failure to meet their own targets.

“Instead of chasing cheap headlines by setting goals they have no hope of achieving, Nationalist ministers should focus on delivering a just and practical transition to net zero which doesn’t place unreasonable demands on hard-pressed Scottish households.”

Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur added: “The Scottish Government needs to get serious about turning this situation around and getting us back on track.

“Rather than setting himself up as the defender of super profits in the oil and gas sector, Humza Yousaf must now start to walk the talk when it comes to Scotland’s climate ambitions.”