A world leader on tackling climate change

Tackling climate change remains one of the defining global issues of our times.

Last year’s UN climate summit in Paris sent the clear message that all countries need to further increase their ambition and action on cutting emissions.

I was struck by many comments made at those talks about the good example Scotland was setting. It has not always been easy, but Scotland has been a genuine world leader in the area of climate change and green energy

The latest evidence shows that we are on track to exceed our 42 per cent target – indeed we had already reached 38.4 per cent back in 2013 – the latest year for which statistics are available.

Given the increasing impact of climate change both here in Scotland and around the world, it is crucial that we continue to lead by example. So, a re-elected SNP Government will go further, increasing our target to more than 50 per cent reduction by 2020.

Figures released last month showed that the SNP has powered through our renewable energy targets, so now we are raising our ambition on tackling climate change once again.

The Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, Richard Dixon, has already said that the new 50 per cent target will be “powerfully iconic” and will send a “strong signal to others to up their game.”

I am optimistic that Scotland’s strong ambition and substantial action on climate change can inspire others to go further.

We hope other parties will back this move and work constructively to ensure Scotland continues to lead on this great global challenge. And we hope other countries will note Scotland’s increased ambition in this area and raise their own efforts to reduce their emissions.

Aileen McLeod is Minister for Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform