THE Scottish Government is to set out its next steps on tackling climate change after a report warned it is now “beyond credible” that Scotland’s target to reduce emissions by 75% by 2030 will be met.

It comes amid reports that the Scottish Government could be planning to ditch the 2030 goal, but remain committed to meeting its target of net zero emissions by 2045.

The move would be seen as a major climbdown for the administration at Holyrood – where Green politicians are now in government thanks to the Bute House powersharing agreement with SNP.

But a report from the Climate Change Committee (CCC) published in March said that, for Scotland to achieve the goal of cutting harmful emissions by 75% by then, the rate of emission reduction in most sectors would need to increase by a factor of nine in the years up to the end of the decade.

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As a result, it said: “The acceleration required in emissions reduction to meet the 2030 target is now beyond what is credible.”

The Scottish Government has missed its legally binding annual emissions reduction targets in eight out of the last 12 years.

Scotland Net-Zero Secretary Mairi McAllan will give an update to Holyrood on next steps following the CCC report on Thursday afternoon.

Speaking ahead of the statement, she said that taking action to tackle the twin crises of climate change and nature loss is the “defining global issue of our era”.

The National: Mairi McAllan

She added: “Whilst we are faced with a UK Government which is rowing back on climate action, and hostile to measures already adopted by nations across the world like the Deposit Return Scheme, the progress we have made since Scotland declared a global climate emergency in 2019 and since Glasgow hosted Cop26 in 2021 is now at risk.

“This cannot continue. The future of our planet and the security of future generations is far too important.

“Tackling climate change is an environmental imperative and our moral obligation. However, done correctly, it can also present perhaps the single greatest social and economic opportunity of many generations in Scotland.

“To achieve this, our work must be taken forward in a way that is ambitious and fair, which empowers communities and recognises the different needs of rural, island and urban areas.

“This Government is absolutely committed to tackling the climate crisis with the urgency and pace which is required. However, to do so we need collective will and a common sense of priority.

“I call on all parties in the Scottish Parliament to put politics aside, to reject culture wars, and to back our efforts. This is our collective mission in which we cannot fail.”

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Following the publication of the CCC report in March, McAllan said the Scottish Government remains fully committed to meeting its target of net zero emissions by 2045.

Scottish Greens climate spokesman Mark Ruskell said: “We are absolutely determined to accelerate the urgent and substantial action needed to tackle the climate crisis as laid out by the CCC recently, and fully expect the Scottish Government to respond to that challenge.”

Climate campaigners however said that ditching the 2030 target would be an “acute global embarrassment” for the Scottish Government.

Jamie Livingstone, head of Oxfam Scotland, said: “With the world becoming a dirtier and deadlier place every day, any decision by Scottish ministers to rewrite Scotland’s climate rulebook would be an acute global embarrassment.

“It would also be the direct and damaging consequence of the Scottish Government’s own dilly-dallying on climate action.”

Meanwhile, Scottish Conservatives said the move would be an “abject humiliation” for the SNP and Green government at Holyrood.

Net zero spokesman Douglas Lumsden said: “For all the boasting about their supposed environmental credentials, the reality is a succession of missed targets – and being forced to throw in the towel on this flagship pledge represents the biggest failure of the lot.”

The Tory MSP added: “This climbdown is not a surprise, given the damning report from the Climate Change Committee, but it is symptomatic of a Nationalist coalition that routinely over-promises and under-delivers.”