NICOLA Sturgeon’s former chief of staff Liz Lloyd has spoken out after reports that the Scottish Government could ditch its 2030 goal, but remain committed to meeting its target of net-zero emissions by 2045.

The former chief of staff and adviser to the former first minister spoke out on social media on Thursday morning - before Net Zero Secretary Mairi McAllan was set to appear at Holyrood addressing the Government's next steps in tackling climate change.

The “expected” move would be seen as a major climbdown for the administration at Holyrood – where Green politicians are now in government thanks to a power sharing agreement with the SNP.

The target passed by the Government in 2019 had been set at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 75% by 2030. It is unclear whether the net-zero aim by 2045 will remain.

Ahead of the announcement, Lloyd wrote a thread of posts on Twitter/X explaining why the target was “always described as ‘stretching'".

The National:

She also warned that the decision risks being used as a political playground, rather than a basis to commit to serious climate action.

She questioned whether political parties “will find a science-based consensus and the means to deliver or use a legislative opportunity to play pre-election politics”.

Lloyd pointed to the Scottish Greens who, prior to the legislation of the targets passing in 2019, reportedly urged for the target of cutting harmful emissions by 2030 to be set at 85% in the face of the Climate Change Committee’s (CCC) recommendation of 70%.

Lloyd stated that the CCC “didn’t propose a 2030 target but when asked by ScotGov, said it should be on a straight line to 2045”. CCC advised 70%.

“ScotGov was a minority government and all parties pushed to increase the target. The consensus became 75% (the Greens wanted 85%),” Lloyd added.

Lloyd recalls Roseanna Cunningham “making clear to parties that the target went beyond the CCC advice on what could be done but needed consensus to pass the bill”.

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She added that Scotland’s climate targets are also dependent partly on the UK’s net-zero trajectory and carbon budget – which Lloyd argued “were not designed or adjusted” to consider Holyrood’s 75% target.

“Revisions to the inventory used to calculate the baseline also made the challenge harder as did new research on what amount could be attributed to negative emission technologies during this period.

“None of this is to get away from questions on whether ScotGov could have gone further or faster, but the background is part of why the ScotGov is where it is today.”

The former adviser concluded by looking ahead and considering investment from the UK Government, and whether the funding matches the Scottish Parliament’s climate responsibilities.

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“Climate was not an area of policy when parliament was established in 1999. It just wasn’t thought about. The scale and pace of investment required by public sector and in public goods/fairness of transition goes well beyond Scottish Parliament capital borrowing powers," Lloyd wrote.

“Resetting the path to 2045 does not ease the pressure on all parties and both Govt’s to drive credible climate action in industry, heating, transport and farming but could it open space for a more constructive and successful discussion in parliament on how and with what money?

“Question for all parties in Holyrood is if they will find a science-based consensus and the means to deliver or use a legislative opportunity to play pre-election politics. Particularly as for the first time Labour might think they’ll be in office when policies need delivered.”