The Climate Bill: reflections and next steps

  • 20 Nov 2019
  • General News

A couple of months have passed since the Climate Bill was voted through in the Scottish Parliament.

This has been a huge journey for the coalition in a rapidly evolving context. Over the last three years we’ve had ever worsening impacts of climate change being felt on every continent on earth, powerful new science emerging and, most encouragingly, a huge upswell in public concern and action to tackle the climate emergency.

Much was achieved alongside our main asks – from the aviation multiplier, to consumption emissions, to agriculture policy and sustainable development – but in terms of our original headline asks here’s how we fared at the end:


  • SCCS asked for: 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, net-zero by 2045 (both these asks tightened in early 2019 from 77% by 2030 and net zero 2050).
  • Bill does: 75% reduction by 2030, net-zero by 2045.

There’s also a policy commitment from Government to work to higher targets in the next Climate Change Plan revision.


  • SCCS asked for: future finance budgets to be consistent with climate targets
  • Bill does: Infrastructure Investment Plan must be published alongside an assessment of how it will contribute to climate targets. Government committed to develop new approaches for aligning capital spend and targets. We also asked for better alignment of the budget as a whole but the Bill does not address this.


  • SCCS asked for: introduction of a Nitrogen Budget by 2020, with targets
  • Bill does:  introduce a Nitrogen Balance Sheet across all sectors by 2021, with no targets
  • SCCS asked for: all homes to be Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rated C by 2030
  • Bill does:  future Climate Plans to set out what measures Government are taking to deliver EPC C rating for homes
  • SCCS asked for: phase out fossil fuel cars and vans by 2032
  • Bill does: this is not included, but it was an early win way back in the 2017 Programme for Government, so we did not pursue any amendments around this.

The final Bill

You can read the final Bill here

What’s next?

Of course we don’t stop here. A bill can only take us so far, it’s what comes next that counts and we will be pushing for immediate and rapid action on emissions and delivering climate justice. The next step is for the government to produce an updated Climate Change Plan early next year that sets out how they plan to meet the targets set in the bill.

With the UN Climate talks coming to Glasgow at the end of next year, the world will be watching.