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THE SNP government has been slammed for its environmental record after figures show that Scotland missed its legally set climate change target in 2019 for the third year in a row.
The latest official Scottish Greenhouse Gas Emissions report revealed the Holyrood government failed to meet its target, prompting calls for a step change to avoid climate catastrophe.
The transport sector remains by far the biggest contributor to Scotland failing to meet its targets, with agriculture and other land use also playing a major part. And though source emissions dropped slightly in 2019, that is only because 2018 figures have been revised upwards.
The Scottish Greens have said Scotland must move faster to ensure it begins meeting international obligations.
Party environment spokesman Mark Ruskell said: “This is the third year in a row where Scotland has missed our emissions targets, and the Scottish government needs to wake up to the urgency required.
“Forests and peatlands are natural carbon sinks, and we are not protecting our wild places enough or supporting farmers to lower emissions.
“There must be a step change in Scotland’s policies to cut emissions before it becomes irreversible.”
Calls for a transformational approach to the climate and carbon emissions were backed by charities and campaigners such as WWF Scotland.
Friends of the Earth Scotland director Dr Richard Dixon said the country remains a “considerable margin” away from its carbon goals.
And similar concerns were flagged by Scottish Labour, which said that while the climate targets were once hailed as world-leading, they continue to be missed.
The latest statistics show a reduction of the greenhouse gas account of 51.5 per cent in 2019 from the baseline period, despite legislation calling for a 55 per cent drop.
Monica Lennon MSP said: “The Scottish government’s rhetoric on climate emergency is not being matched by action, and time is running out to protect people and planet.
“It’s hugely worrying that Scotland’s carbon sink is shrinking, with the level of greenhouse gases soaked up by forestry and land use falling sharply since 2011.
“Empty promises and missed targets are not good enough in a climate emergency. In the year of COP26, when Scotland should be leading the world, we are instead failing on the basics.
“We need bold action now to get us back on track to meet these crucial targets.”
A Scottish government spokesman said that while the missed targets were disappointing, significant progress had been made.
He said: “We have always been clear that the second half of our journey to net zero will be more challenging — and it will require urgent collective action across government, Parliament and, indeed, across every corner of society, in order to achieve it.”
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