PROPOSALS for a new law to bring in tougher climate change targets in Scotland to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement will be debated at Holyrood later amid mounting calls for more urgent action.

The Climate Change Bill would update laws to increase the greenhouse gas reduction target from the current 80% to 90% by 2050, as well as introduce an interim target of 56% for 2020 - up from the current 42% – and 66% for 2030.

Environmental activists and the Scottish Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform (ECCLR) Committee have both warned that more urgent action is needed.

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) is holding a protest outside Holyrood today ahead of the debate, calling for far greater urgency in Scottish ambition, including a significant increase in action over the next decade.

“The Scottish Government is failing to tackle climate change with the necessary urgency,” said SCCS chairman Tom Ballantine. The Bill going through Parliament currently commits to almost no increase in action between now and 2030.

“Climate change is the most urgent and pressing crisis facing the world, and Scotland’s targets for cutting emissions must reflect our commitment to meeting that challenge. The increasing frequency and severity of climate disasters around the world show that we are running out of time to solve this crisis.

“MSPs must use this debate and the forthcoming parliamentary process to increase Scotland’s action, particularly in the next decade, and map out the concrete measures that will cut climate emissions from transport, housing and food production over the next 10 years.”

He added: “As it stands, this Bill is out of step with what climate science says is needed and the repeated public calls for more action. In recent months we’ve witnessed an upsurge in climate activism and public concern, including thousands of school children going on strike to demand more action from Government.

“Over 19,000 people gave their views that this Bill needed to be stronger but they have been ignored by the Government.”

Ballantine’s comments followed an SCCS-commissioned YouGov poll which found that 78% of respondents are either more concerned about climate change or as concerned as they were 12 months ago. A third of those surveyed are more worried now than they were a year ago.

In a report on the planned legislation, the ECCLR committee called for greater urgency, acceleration of short-term targets and setting out what temperature they seek to achieve.

The committee recommended this should be the 1.5C (2.7F) outlined in the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report published in October. That report said unprecedented action is needed to avoid the severe climate impacts of temperatures rising above this level, including cutting global carbon dioxide emissions by almost half within 12 years, and to zero by the middle of the century.

Around 200 IPCC scientists are gathering in Edinburgh and will meet committee members before the debate. They will also meet pupils who are walking out of school on Fridays as part of a global youth protest.