Campaigners warn that Scotland’s climate plans are ‘doomed to fail’ without robust public scrutiny

  • 10 Jun 2024
  • Press Release

The Scottish Government will likely repeat failures that resulted in the ditching of 2030 climate targets unless better scrutiny mechanisms are introduced in the next Climate Change Plan, according to a new joint briefing from the Environmental Rights Centre for Scotland (ERCS) and Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS).

Campaigners exposed key legal failings in the monitoring, reporting, and assessment of progress towards emission reduction in three recent representations made to Environmental Standards Scotland (ESS), Scotland’s post-Brexit environmental watchdog.

The cases highlighted the Government’s failure to conduct an adequate climate assessment of infrastructure spending plans, to report to Parliament on action to be taken if climate targets were missed, and to quantify the impact of policies and proposals in its Climate Change Plan (CCP), all of which are legal duties under Scotland’s Climate Change Act.

Campaigners are urging the Government to embed improved monitoring, reporting, scrutiny and transparency in forthcoming legislation and the new CCP, in order to avoid repeating previous failings and ensure the effective delivery of climate policy to accelerate progress towards net zero.

Shivali Fifield, Chief Officer at ERCS, said:

‘As new First Minister, John Swinney says tackling the climate emergency is one of his four key priorities, but the recent debacle over ditched 2030 climate targets has exposed deep failings in the Scottish Government’s plans to deliver real and lasting emissions cuts.

If the government had followed the duties set out in its own Climate Change Act, to fully assess and report on emissions reductions, it could have averted a series of embarrassing policy failures and kept us on track to meet the 2030 climate targets.

The First Minister now needs to restore trust if he wants to talk about climate leadership. His government must demonstrate much greater transparency and a credible methodology for objective climate impact assessments. Without this, Scotland’s climate plans are doomed to fail and that is just unacceptable.’