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Transform’s priorities for the Climate Change Plan

Published 16 December 2020 by Transform Scotland

We have today commented on what we see as priorities for the Scottish Government’s ‘Climate Change Plan update’ due to be published later today.

Transform director Colin Howden said:

“Transport is the largest source of emissions (36%) and there has been no progress in emission reduction over the last 30 years. Given these past failures, a significant shift in thinking and action is required in order to cut emissions from Scotland’s most problematic sector.

“Despite the historical failures, the recent progress by the Scottish Government on creating decarbonisation plans for public transport has been good to see. In July we welcomed the Rail Services Decarbonisation Action Plan, while arguing the 2035 target for decarbonisation should be brought forward to 2030. We have also been encouraged by the strong support for the bus sector in the Just Transition Commission’s advice and in the Scottish Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee’s ‘Green Recovery Inquiry Report’, both published earlier this year. Continued progress on the decarbonisation of public transport is crucial but is not enough on its own.

“Scotland’s infrastructure priorities have long been the biggest barrier to emission reduction in the transport sector. In 2018, Scottish Parliament research found that the Scottish Government’s infrastructure spending plans continued to be skewed towards high-carbon infrastructure. The new draft Infrastructure Investment Plan maintains this historic bias towards high-carbon transport. Without addressing this continued trend the new Climate Change Plan will not bring the transport sector in line with Scotland’s net zero targets.”

“Finally, the updated Climate Change Plan must take steps to make sustainable transport cheaper than the car. Over the last 15 years, public transport users have seen massive real term fare increases, while motoring costs have fallen. A modal shift towards sustainable forms of transport will not be achievable without reversing this trend.”