An environmental group has brokered a cross-party deal to make Scotland’s buildings more energy efficient and cut emissions from electrical generators, food producers and vehicles.
All of Scotland’s main political parties have signed up to WWF Scotland’s climate change manifesto agreement, pledging to reduce emissions by 42% in the next five years.
They have committed to a national infrastructure programme to make buildings more energy efficient and a low carbon transport system, as well as a plan to cut emissions from the electricity generation and food sectors.
While they are united around these goals they will offer competing visions of how they can be achieved.
Nicola Sturgeon said Scotland under the SNP is “leading the international effort in tackling climate change”, but Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie pointed out that Scotland has missed its emissions targets four years in a row.
Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has pledged to combine “the struggles for sustainability and socialism” for environmental justice, while Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said own her plan will “tackle climate change in a manner that boosts business and creates jobs”.
Lang Banks, director of WWF Scotland, said: “It’s great to know we live in a country where our parliamentarians have long moved on from debating whether climate change is happening to competing about how we secure the benefits of a low carbon economy.
“In the run up to next May’s election voters will be keen to learn how each of the political parties will use their plans for tackling climate change to create jobs, improve health and reduce inequality.”
Ms Sturgeon said: “Scotland is now more than three-quarters of the way towards meeting our emissions reduction target of 42% by 2020 and, with a comprehensive package of measures covering transport, environment and energy, we are leading the international effort in tackling climate change.
“Building on our record, the SNP in government will continue to support individuals, communities and industry as, together, we further reduce carbon emissions and make Scotland the best place possible to live and work.”
Ms Dugdale said: “I believe in environmental justice, that the struggles for sustainability and socialism cannot be separated.
“That’s why I have appointed an environmental justice spokesperson to my front bench team that has a wide policy brief, bringing together our climate change and energy policies.
“We need a joined up approach to make sure we reduce our carbon footprint and transform Scotland to a low carbon economy that helps create strong sustainable growth.”
Ms Davidson said: “Climate change is a threat to our environment, our security and our economic prosperity.
“We will set out our own plans for how we tackle climate change in a manner that boosts business and creates jobs.
Mr Rennie said: “At the core of our vision will be a radical agenda to tackle climate change in way which is credible, affordable and sustainable.
“I want to meet our world-leading climate change targets, which have been missed for four years running.”
Patrick Harvie, co-convenor of the Scottish Green Party, said: “We can cut emissions, transform our economy and create high quality, lasting jobs by investing in energy efficient housing, renewable power and more localised economies.”