Countdown to 2020

Hard work is needed

“Difficult decisions” await as Scotland tries to meet its climate change goals, a group set up to help deliver targets has said.

Members of the 2020 Climate Group spoke ahead of a Holyrood magazine conference about delivering the targets to cut carbon emissions by 42 per cent by 2020.

Although they said significant progress had been made, they felt a lot of hard work was needed to meet targets.

The Scottish Parliament is aiming for an 80 per cent cut in emissions by 2050, with a 42 per cent interim target to be achieved in just eight years’ time.

The group, which is chaired by SSE chief executive Ian Marchant, was formed in December 2009 and includes businesses, public sector organisations and NGOs.

Speaking to Holyrood, Marchant said achieving two or three per cent per year was still going to be challenging.

He said: “There are difficult choices, not just for Scotland but for every developed economy. The path we have been on over the last 50 years is unsustainable. As you move to a sustainable path there will be disruptions, there will be changes.” And John Sturrock, of Core Solutions, another member of the group said: “It may appear when one looks at the figures now, that Scotland has already made significant inroads in the target of a 42 per cent reduction.

“But, in reality, actually achieving that is going to be extraordinarily hard and to achieve what has to be done thereafter, even harder.” He added: “The reality is we could be easily misled by figures that appear to show that we’re ahead of the game or on target.

“In fact to achieve the incremental changes that are needed to achieve the goal is going to take an enormous amount of hard work and some significant changes in behaviour, right across all sectors in the next eight years.” The Holyrood conference, Delivering on 2020, is being held at Our Dynamic Earth on Tuesday 26 June and features among its speakers, Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson.