Climate Change

03 Apr 2020

Coronavirus: Scottish Government Delays Publication of Beefed up Climate Change Plan

03 Apr 2020  by BusinessGreen   

The Scottish government has today confirmed it is to delay publication of the imminent update to its national Climate Change Plan in response to the escalating coronavirus outbreak.

An update to the country's decarbonisation plan had been expected by the end of April, following last year's ratcheting up of Scotland's emissions target to deliver net zero emissions by 2045.

But in a statement Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham confirmed the plan would now be postponed.

"The Scottish Government is fully committed to tackling the global climate emergency and to updating the Climate Change Plan to reflect our ambitious net zero targets," Cunningham said.

"However, in face of the unprecedented health and economic implications of the COVID-19 pandemic we have come to the view that publishing the Climate Change Plan update by the end of April is no longer feasible or appropriate. This does not mean that work on our ambitious plan will pause - indeed it will continue - but it is recognition that we are operating in a changed landscape."

She added that she had written to the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) to request its independent expert advice "on the best way forward in these unprecedented circumstances and how the Climate Change update can contribute, in due course, to a green recovery for Scotland".

Writing on Twitter, CCC chief executive Chris Stark said the delay was "entirely reasonable in the present circumstances".

He also praised the invitation for the Committee to advise on how the economic recovery can be constructed to support climate goals, hailing it as "a welcome sign of what is to follow".

The move comes amidst mounting speculation over how the various timetables to beef up global decarbonisation efforts will be impacted by the coronavirus crisis.

The Paris Agreement requires all signatory countries to submit updated national climate action plans by the end of 2020 and governments had been widely expected to tackle strengthened plans ahead of the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow this November. But there is now widespread speculation that the global Summit may have to be postponed in response to the escalating global pandemic.

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