Scottish Labour has pledged to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 through a long-term climate change strategy.
The plans goes further than the Scottish Government’s proposal in the Climate Change Bill to cut emissions by at least 90% by 2050, a 10% increase on current legislation.
Labour’s plans match the government’s first interim target of a 56% reduction by 2020 but set a more ambition interim goal for 2030 of 77%, compared to the government’s 66%.
Speaking ahead of the announcement on Monday, Labour’s climate change spokeswoman Claudia Beamish said the draft bill is “far too timid”.
She said: “It is our duty to step up for global climate justice and Scottish Labour’s climate policy addresses these obligations while giving Scotland time to adapt in a just way for the workforce and communities.”
She said the policy recognises the inequality in Scotland’s current and historic greenhouse gas production, compared to elsewhere in the world, and that the worst impacts of climate change are hitting those who contributed least to the problem.
The MSP also said action must be taken now in the interests of “inter-generational justice” to avoid passing the burden on emission reduction to the next generation.
“Based on Scotland’s historical emissions since the industrial revolution, and per capita wealth, Scottish Labour has concluded we must hit net zero emissions by 2050, at the latest,” she said
“The SNP government’s draft Bill is far too timid and ignored the 99% of consultation respondents who called for steeper targets.”
She called for the Scottish Government’s pledged Just Transition Commission to be enshrined in the legislation, adding: “For the sake of those on the frontline of climate change around the world, for our beautiful planet and for our children: no more complacency – now for real ambition.”
Gina Hanrahan, of campaign group Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, praised Labour’s new policy and called on all parties to work together to tackle climate change.
She welcomed the Just Transition Commission commitment to support workers and create new, green jobs, as did Scottish Trades Union Congress deputy general secretary Dave Moxham.
He said: “Scotland’s trade unions are clear that tackling climate change is a moral imperative and Scotland must play its part in reducing emissions.
“However, targets must not be met at the expense of the workforce and communities which currently extract or depend on the use of fossil fuels.
“That is why a Just Transition for workers and communities is so important.”
The policy will be launched at low carbon building development site BRE Innovation Park in Motherwell on Monday, which was formerly Ravenscraig steelworks.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Scotland is internationally acknowledged as a world leader in tackling greenhouse gas emissions and our ambitious Climate Change Bill is the toughest climate legislation of any country in the world.
“The Bill sets a target to reduce all greenhouse gas emissions by 90% by 2050, which will mean net-zero carbon dioxide by the same date. In other words, Scotland will be carbon neutral.
“The Bill also means the Scottish Government is legally bound to regularly review when to set a net-zero target for all greenhouse gases and as soon as that target date can be set credibly and responsibly, we will write that date into law too.
“We will legislate for a net-zero target date as soon as we can be sure that, based on the best scientific understanding, it is achievable and doing so will not compromise the well-being of the people of Scotland.”