Carbon Emissions Targets

– in the Scottish Parliament on 11th February 2021.

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Photo of James Kelly James Kelly Labour

5. To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the action it is taking to meet its carbon emissions targets. (S5O-05005)

Photo of Roseanna Cunningham Roseanna Cunningham Scottish National Party

As I said in response to question 1, the Scottish Government updated our climate change plan in December with over 100 new policies, putting Scotland on a pathway to meeting its world-leading targets over the period to 2032. I will not repeat the rest of what I said in my earlier answer.

Delivering a just transition to net zero and reaching our 75 per cent target by 2030 will require transformational change in every area of our economy and for businesses, individuals and the United Kingdom Government to all make their contributions to delivering the change that we need.

Photo of James Kelly James Kelly Labour

I want to raise the issue of promoting more bus journeys in order to help to fulfil the objective of reducing carbon emissions. I believe that some of the larger bus companies are more interested in profit than in serving local communities. What is being done to support community-based campaigns, such as Get Glasgow Moving, with a view to getting more people to use buses and making bus journeys more accessible, thus helping to reduce carbon emissions?

Photo of Roseanna Cunningham Roseanna Cunningham Scottish National Party

I can speak only in general terms. I am sure that the member is aware that Michael Matheson, the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, would be able to give him a great deal more detail.

As a bus user myself—at least in normal times—I can reassure the member that I would always wish to encourage campaigning and advocating for greater bus use, wherever it takes place in Scotland but particularly in those areas that are the likely first four low-emission zones, because that will make an enormous difference in urban areas. There are challenges to the bus service across Scotland, given the huge differences between urban and rural areas, but each and every bus journey that people take makes a positive contribution to reducing our emissions.

Photo of Elizabeth Smith Elizabeth Smith Conservative

The cabinet secretary will be well aware of the recent evidence that was taken by the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee, in which several witnesses cited the crucial importance of a holistic approach to net zero transition, and the part that the circular economy can play in that. When can we expect to see the flagship circular economy bill that the Scottish Government promised?

Photo of Roseanna Cunningham Roseanna Cunningham Scottish National Party

It is absolutely clear that the delay to the circular economy has been caused by the pandemic. That was not the only change that had to be made to potential parliamentary business. I would not be able to say, in advance of any future programme for government, what would be in it or when it would be introduced, but I strongly suspect that there will be a circular economy bill in future, building on the work on the circular economy bill that we would have had, had it not been for the pandemic.

Photo of Claudia Beamish Claudia Beamish Labour

Why is a target for native woodland planting not included in the climate change plan update? Will the cabinet secretary reconsider that?

Photo of Roseanna Cunningham Roseanna Cunningham Scottish National Party

I am always happy to look at further suggestions. All that I would say is that the climate change plan update could not be encyclopaedic in its nature. It is an update, not an entire climate change plan. If there are suggestions for things that people think should be included, I am happy to hear the arguments for them.

It is important to remember that the climate change plan update was done at speed. It was not expected to be a full climate change plan, and everybody understood that when we set out on this process.