THE Scottish Government has raised its target to reduce emissions hours before a vote on new climate change legislation.

It will see ministers aim to reduce emissions by 75% by 2030 - an increase on the 70% target by the same date which had been proposed.

Campaigners had been critical of the Climate Change Bill, calling for the 2030 target to be raised to cutting emissions by 80%.

Speaking ahead of the vote at Holyrood on Wednesday, Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: "Our new Climate Change Bill demonstrates what international leadership on climate action means.

"Not only are we setting legally binding targets to reduce emissions to net-zero in direct response to the Paris Agreement, we are also putting in place the most stringent framework of statutory targets of any country in the world.

"No-one should be in any doubt of the Scottish Government's commitment to use every policy lever at our disposal to rise to this challenge.

READ MORE: Scotland is leading by example on climate crisis

"Our end target is firmly based on what we are told is the limit of what can currently be achieved.

"It is the maximum possible ambition based upon the best available science and requires the UK to take action to meet their targets if Scotland is to meet ours.

"In the interim, while there is some uncertainty over the precise route that can be taken, we believe it is right to be as ambitious as possible to drive the action required to make the changes we need."

The legislation will also commit Scotland to a target of net-zero emissions of all greenhouse gases by 2045.

But Scottish Green environment spokesman Mark Ruskell described the 75% target as a "weak compromise".

He said: "I welcome the fact that ministers have finally recognised the importance of 10-year targets, as this is the timescale that climate scientists have given us.

"However, a 75% target is a weak compromise, and the Labour Party has now agreed far stronger targets at their own conference. All parties should now swing behind our target of 80% by 2030.

The National: Scotland is committed to reducing greenhouse gasesScotland is committed to reducing greenhouse gases

"The fact is, we need to take radical action to transform our economy to meet the climate emergency. This means we need to reduce emissions by as much as possible in the next 10 years.

"The climate strikers demand it, Stop Climate Chaos demands it, and the Scottish Greens have made it possible with our amendment for an 80% target for 2030. The SNP have shown they can move on this, but they need to go further and match our ambition."

READ MORE: Young Scottish climate strikers guest edit Sunday National

Scottish Liberal Democrat energy spokesman Liam McArthur said: "I'm absolutely delighted the Scottish Government has got on board with our plans to introduce tougher interim emissions targets.

"It's hugely important we speed up the transition to becoming a net-zero country. Early action is critical to stopping irreversible damage to our environment.

"Politicians have a duty to respond to the outcries for action from young people across the world and at home. The amendment we proposed in cross-party discussions will now help make that happen."