The First Minister has been accused of having more spin than a wind turbine on climate change as she prepares to take part in global talks aimed at cutting environmentally harmful emissions.
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale attacked Nicola Sturgeon, who will be travelling to Paris this weekend for the UN climate summit.
While Holyrood has passed legally binding targets for reducing emissions, the Scottish Government has so far failed to achieve them.
Ms Dugdale also attacked the Scottish Government over its increasing use of cars and for planning to scrap Air Passenger Duty (APD), a levy paid by all those travelling by plane.
She said “When the First Minister tells the international community she has the most ambitious targets in the world, will she remember to tell them she hasn’t hit those targets once?”
Ms Sturgeon defended the Scottish Government’s performance, saying it would have achieved the targets if the baseline figure for the cuts had not been increased.
She said:: “When we set the target for 2013 back in 2010 the reduction in carbon we anticipated at that time was 31.7%, that was the target we anticipated we would have to reduce emissions by.
“In actual fact what we have achieved is 38.4% from the 1990 baseline. The only reason why that means we still haven’t met the target is because of the increases to that baseline, fixed annual targets were missed because of the improvements to the way the data is calculated which added 10.6 million megatonnes to the 1990 baseline.”
She added: “We’ve actually exceeded the reduction we anticipated but because of the increase in the baseline that means we haven’t met the target.”
While Ms Sturgeon insisted this was “factual information I am sharing with the chamber” at First Minister’s Questions, Ms Dugdale continued her attack.
“There’s more spin in that answer than your average wind turbine,” the Scottish Labour leader said.
“The fact is that the First Minister’s Government has never hit a climate change target.”
She added one reason for this was that “yet again the Scottish Government missed their own target to cut their own emissions from their own activities”, with new data published at the start of this week showing “the Government’s use of vehicles, taxis and private cars all actually increased in the last year”.
Ms Dugdale told the First Minister: “If her own Government can’t meet its targets, how can she lecture the rest of the world on their duty to do the same?”
She also hit out at SNP plans to first cut then abolish APD when responsibility for this is handed to Holyrood.
The Labour leader said: “The Government’s own figures show abolishing APD will increase emissions by 50,000 tonnes a year. To put that into context, the First Minister could fly to Paris and back every day for 200 years and do less damage to the environment.”
Ms Sturgeon told her: “I won’t be flying to Paris on Sunday, I’ll be taking the train to Paris on Sunday.”
She told MSPs: “I will be very proud to represent Scotland on Monday in Paris, where I will take the message from Scotland about what we’re doing and use that, I hope, as a motivation and a spur to others to follow suit.”
The First Minister continued: “We should celebrate the progress we are making in Scotland and use that to encourage others to make similar progress.
“But we should also not rest on our laurels, we should be determined to continue to make progress.”