We must ramp up climate action to hit net zero target - Lorna Slater

Reducing the number of cars on the roads is one way to ramp up action on climate changeReducing the number of cars on the roads is one way to ramp up action on climate change
Reducing the number of cars on the roads is one way to ramp up action on climate change
he confirmation that Scotland still has a clear and achievable path to hit our 2045 climate targets should inspire all of us to accelerate the action we are taking for our planet.

​There is nothing more important than our environment. My party, campaigners and scientists across the globe have been saying so for years in spite of governments the world over refusing for decades to accept they had to treat the crisis with the urgency it deserves.

This must be the turning point and the moment we accelerate the action we are taking to make Scotland net zero.

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Here and across the UK opportunities have been missed and action delayed to the point that it is simply not possible to meet our ambitious 2030 targets. We can’t undo that, but we can act to ensure it inspires an acceleration of effort across society.

That’s why we are committed to ensuring Scotland goes further and faster and delivers the change that is vital. This is reflected in the package of measures announced last week to ramp up action.

Reducing the number of cars on the road, decarbonising agriculture and transforming the way we heat our homes; these are big changes that are at the heart of plans we have developed with Scottish Government colleagues.

Even the strongest and most ambitious targets can only achieve so much if there is not a credible and robust plan in place that will actually reach them, so the fact new measures have been agreed on top of an existing programme is very welcome.

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Shortly after I was elected I joined a protest outside the Scottish Parliament to read from the UN Climate Change report that stressed how much there was to do.

I believe that work is best done by being in the room and helping to shape the decisions.

Since I became a Minister I’ve seen huge opportunities for change. That is how we have been able to deliver over £60 million for nature projects, record funding for wildlife and recycling, a de facto ban on permission for new incinerators, and so much more.

But there are also huge limitations. We simply do not have the powers and budgets of a normal country, and the UK government has worked against us and cut our budgets.

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There are some who argue that as an opposition party we would be better placed to deliver change. It’s not a view I share, but it is one Scottish Green members will debate in the weeks ahead, with our party set to vote on if we continue with the cooperation agreement that brought us into government.

I hope it will be a positive debate, but I’m also interested in the views of communities here in Edinburgh. Where Scotland goes and how we accelerate climate action are questions that will impact us all.

Lorna Slater is Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity

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