SCOTLAND could eliminate harmful climate change emissions by 2045, according to a report published yesterday.

A new Climate Change Bill is currently being debated at Holyrood which proposes reducing harmful emissions by 90 per cent by 2050, a change from the previous target of 80 per cent.

But the report, titled: ‘A Climate of Possibility: Harnessing Scotland’s natural resources to end our contribution to climate change’ and commissioned by WWF Scotland, shows ways for Scotland to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.

The report states: “We need to accelerate our response to climate change while at the same time planning a just transition towards a healthier, cleaner, flourishing country.”

Calling for deep cuts in key sectors, the report states that the power, transport and buildings sectors can all reach zero or near-zero emissions while emissions in industry can be reduced by at least 60 per cent without reducing productive capacity.

It adds that agriculture can reduce emissions by around 35 per cent while maintaining current production levels. Farms will have a growing and crucial role in deploying carbon sinks to help offset emissions.

Gina Hanrahan, head of policy at WWF Scotland said: “We know that climate change is one of the biggest threats facing people and nature. To avoid the most dangerous consequences at home and abroad, we need to urgently cut our emissions and rapidly increase our carbon sinks through tree planting, restoring peatlands and improving the health of our soils.

“In the ten years since the previous Climate Change Bill we’ve already reduced emissions by nearly half and made truly incredible progress in cutting the carbon from our power sector. There’s still much to be done to ensure everyone in Scotland is living in a warm, low carbon home, can breathe clean air and that we are producing the best of low carbon food.

“That’s why it’s crucial that MSPs, who are debating the new Climate Change Bill, confront the challenge head on and join the growing number of progressive nations by setting an iconic net zero target and speeding up the policy action need to end our climate emissions once and for all.”

Fabrice Leveque, Senior Policy Manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “WWF Scotland is right to say we are ‘laden with natural advantages’ for achieving net zero carbon emissions. Setting a new target would affirm Scotland’s place at the forefront of climate change action and send a strong signal to business that we need to cut emissions more quickly and deeply than ever before across Scotland’s energy system.

“New evidence from the IPCC last year on the timeline we have available to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change explains why we need to act now. The falling cost of renewables, coupled with Government support and a focus on innovation, are the tools we need to hit a net zero emission target which would build on the successes of Scotland’s world-leading renewables industry.”