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United Nations Climate Change Summit (Transport)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 13th November 2019.

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Photo of Rona Mackay Rona Mackay Scottish National Party

1. To ask the Scottish Government what plans or initiatives are in place to promote environmentally friendly modes of transport ahead of the 2020 UN climate change summit in Glasgow. (S5O-03737)

Photo of Michael Matheson Michael Matheson Scottish National Party

Scottish Government officials are working with a range of partners to consider specific initiatives for sustainable transport ahead of the 2020 United Nations climate change summit in Glasgow. Such measures will enable Scotland to showcase the significant work that is being done across the transport system to achieve the toughest emission reduction targets in the United Kingdom.

More widely, the 26th conference of the parties, or COP26, being held in Scotland provides an opportunity to demonstrate our leadership in climate action, particularly since we were one of the first countries in the world to acknowledge the global climate emergency.

Photo of Rona Mackay Rona Mackay Scottish National Party

Does the minister agree—I think that he does, because he just said it—that the climate change summit in Glasgow next year is the ideal opportunity for the city of Glasgow and Scotland to show how much value we put on leading the way in reducing carbon emissions, and to showcase our commitment to tackling the climate change crisis by providing environmentally friendly transport?

Photo of Michael Matheson Michael Matheson Scottish National Party

Yes, I do. It provides an opportunity for the Scottish Government and Scottish ministers to be fully involved in COP26. It is not just the fact that the summit is taking place in Glasgow: we also have a strong and ambitious story to tell of ourselves and the work that we have been undertaking on world-leading climate change targets.

Glasgow, as a city, is leading the way. It has already implemented a low-emission zone in the city centre that is focused on buses, it will cover other modes of transport by 2020 and we want to see continuing progress as we move towards COP26.

The Scottish Government is investing £1 billion per year in public and sustainable transport to encourage modal shift, as well as providing £13 million to public bodies to support investment in zero-emission or ultra-low emission vehicles. We have also invested £30 million since 2011 in developing a comprehensive charging network for electric vehicles.

We set out some bold and ambitious measures in the programme for government, including a commitment to invest more than £500 million in bus infrastructure, to decarbonise our railways by 2035 and to provide an extra £17 million to support ULEVs.

I assure the member that we will use COP26 as an opportunity to showcase the significant work that has been undertaken in Scotland to decarbonise our transport system.