Environmentalists have warned the Scottish Government not to follow the example of the UK Government and ditch key climate commitments after independent advisors this week slammed their inadequate efforts to meet crucial 2030 targets.  

SNP ministers have stated that they are ‘considering legal options’ in response to the scathing assessment by the Climate Change Committee of their collective failure to put policies in place that cut climate pollution.

In September 2023 Rishi Sunak undermined the UK Government’s climate commitments by rolling back planned measures on transport, heating and ruling out action on aviation emissions.  

Campaigners are emphasising how climate science demands urgent action this decade and there is widespread public support for the transformative policy action that has been sorely lacking since the targets were strengthened in 2019.  

Campaigners highlighted key areas across transport, home heating and energy where change could be made swiftly to bring down emissions, help reduce people’s bills and improve lives. 

‘Moment of climate truth’ for Scottish Government

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s head of campaigns Imogen Dow said, 

 “SNP and Green Ministers must not follow the example of Conservatives in the UK Government and weaken climate targets. This is a moment of climate truth to see if the Scottish Government is truly committed to taking the action needed this decade or whether it will try to weasel its way out of the challenge.  

“The 2030 target could and should have been met but instead politicians kept kicking the can down the road. This must end if public trust is to be restored in the Scottish Government’s climate credibility.  

“By redoubling efforts to make public transport the affordable and convenient option, as well as speeding up action to ensure every home is warm, Ministers can help people save money and reduce climate pollution. There is a huge green jobs boost waiting to be realised if Ministers can put time and money into creating the right conditions.  

 “For too long the Scottish Government has been fixated on blaming the UK Government when it needs to get its own house in order, and like every other home, get it insulated as soon as possible.  

“Politicians right across the spectrum made a promise to the people of Scotland in voting for strong 2030 targets so they must be willing to work together to back the transformative ideas that improve lives and cut climate pollution.”

Key climate areas for Scottish Government to progress


Increased investment in affordable and reliable public transport would encourage people out of cars and create thousands of new jobs.  Lower speed limits, segregated cycle lanes and traffic calming measures around key hubs such as schools and hospitals can help people feel safer and more confident when walking, wheeling and cycling.  

Home heating and insulation

A mass rollout of heat pumps and an increased effort to insulate homes, which would lower peoples bills, reduce demand for gas and even provide cost savings to the NHS as people reap the health benefits associated with warm homes.  

Fossil free energy – reject Peterhead gas plans

Reject the new gas burning power plant at Peterhead which risks locking Scottish homes into fossil fuel use, where prices are set by international energy markets, for decades to come. By rejecting the Peterhead gas plans, the Scottish Government can cut down on emissions and encourage clean, green, renewable energy sources which will lower bills and protect the environment. 

Concentrate on proven climate solutions

Stop chasing after false promises of Negative Emissions Technologies such Carbon Capture and Storage or Direct Air Capture. Research shows CCS will have at best extremely limited uses in some heavy industry and will be unable to decarbonise energy plants or fossil fuels to any significant degree. The Scottish Government must stop pretending NETs will provide a solution and start investing in real, proven climate policies that will lower emissions and make people’s lives better. 


Independent advisors at the Climate Change Committee this week declared that the Scottish Government goal to reduce climate emissions by 75% by 2030 was ‘ no longer credible’

Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary Màiri McAllan admitted to STV news that they were considering legislative options in response to the CCC criticism.

Speaking to BBC radio on 20/3/24 the Cabinet Secretary refused to give a timeframe for the introduction of the Climate Change Plan that details how targets will be met, which is a legal obligation under the Climate Act. 
From 8:06am

Investment in public transport creates jobs and brings down emissions. Friends of the Earth Scotland report from 2023:

Warm Homes can help people and the NHS. Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland research highlighted the benefits of a major programme of energy efficiency.

The Scottish Government are considering an application from energy giants SSE and Equinor to build a new gas-fired power station at Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, in addition to the existing gas plant.


Scottish Government feasibility study into Negative Emissions Technologies showed previous estimates were far too reliant on carbon capture

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland have previously produced a wide-ranging manifesto of ideas to help cut climate pollution, enhance nature and improve lives:

Carbon Brief analysis of Prime Minister’s ditching of climate pledges

UK Government opinion surveys regularly show at least 80% of the public are concerned about climate change

Friends of the Earth Scotland is:
* Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 73 national member groups, and 5,000 local activist groups.