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Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 25th September 2019.

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Photo of Roseanna Cunningham Roseanna Cunningham Scottish National Party

Thank you, Presiding Officer.

I hear what Patrick Harvie says; I understand and accept that he will want to say that. However, those of us who are in government at the time that we pass legislation must think about what will be realistic and achievable. We have done that.

If it is agreed this afternoon, the bill will set the framework and target pathway for Scotland’s journey to net zero. That represents a vital step, but it must be matched by actions to deliver on extremely challenging targets. The transition to net zero will require changes to virtually every aspect of everyday life for Scotland’s people. That will be achieved only if it is a national endeavour.

The Scottish Government’s commitment is clear. Tackling climate change lies at the heart of our programme for government, and we have committed, in line with the committee’s recommendations, to update our current climate change plan within six months of the bill receiving royal assent. We are looking across our full range of responsibilities to make sure that we continue with the policies that are working and identify areas where we can go further, faster. In my closing remarks, I will return to specific actions that we are already taking.

Central to our approach is a just transition, in which no one is left behind. To reflect that commitment clearly in law, the bill was amended at stage 2 to place a set of internationally recognised just transition principles in the bill and at the heart of climate change plans. Amendments that have been agreed to today have further strengthened those arrangements.

Public engagement will be vital. Building from the big climate conversation over the summer, we have committed to a national forum on climate change and, today, we supported an amendment to mandate the establishment of a citizens assembly.

I express my special thanks to all the members of the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee for their contributions to the bill process. John Scott would have wished to be here to see the bill through to the end, because he took a great interest in it.

The bill maintains Scotland’s position as the country with the most stringent framework of statutory climate change targets anywhere in the world. Sometimes, when we are discussing climate change, we should remember that. If agreed, the bill will mean that Scotland’s contribution to climate change ends within a generation. Today will mark the start of the second half of Scotland’s journey to net zero emissions.

I move,

That the Parliament agrees that the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill be passed.