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Scotland reveals ambitious climate targets

Scotland reveals ambitious climate targets
A wind turbine in an oilseed rape field in Scotland

Scotland has set out a new climate change plan which includes ambitious emissions reduction targets stretching over the next 14 years.

Scotland aims to cut its greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation by 50 grams per kilowatt hour by 2030, according to the white paper released at the Scottish Renewables-Scottish Enterprise Offshore Wind & Supply Chain Conference in Aberdeen.

This represents an 83 percent reduction in carbon intensity from 2011, when emissions were at 291 grams per kilowatt hour.

Scotland also seeks to deliver an equivalent of 100 percent gross electricity consumption from renewable energy by 2020.

It was in 2009 when the Scottish Parliament initially passed its Climate Change Act, which has been hailed as “the most ambitious climate change legislation” in the world.

A year following the passage of the law, Scotland’s emissions were down to 24.3 percent from 1990 levels, more than halfway toward achieving the 42 percent reduction target by 2020 and way faster than any member state in the European Union.

Moreover, about 35 percent of Scotland’s electricity was from renewable sources in 2011, surpassing the government’s target of 31 percent and contributing nearly 40 percent of Britain’s renewable energy output.

“We are already laying the foundations for much greater, long term, transformational changes in the way we generate and use energy, with decarbonization of electricity generation being a key driver of our progress towards a low carbon economy,” Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment and Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Environment and Climate Change stated in the foreword of the paper.

Other efforts outlined in the new climate change policy includes a £50 million ($78.97) Warm Homes Fund to provide grants and loans for renewable energy measures to heat households; the National Retrofit Programme to make older and colder homes energy efficient; and measures to cut the impact of transport sector through active travel, low carbon vehicles and congestion reduction with over £200 million ($315.88 million) investment.

“We recognize the responsibility of the Scottish Government to lead this effort to help households and businesses save money on their bills; to make the big choices on policy and secure the investment that will give Scotland a competitive advantage in important industries and markets; and, ultimately, to ensure we seize the opportunities that a low carbon future offers both to Scotland’s economy and society as a whole,” said Mr. Lochhead and Mr. Wheelhouse. – C. Dominguez

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