Our bold plan to make Scotland net zero by 2045

Scotland is a world leader in tackling climate change – but the scale of the challenge posed by the climate emergency means we can’t be complacent.

That’s why, as we approach COP26 in Glasgow, we’re committed to raising climate ambition even higher – in Scotland and around the world.

As promised in the SNP manifesto, the Scottish Government has now published our indicative Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to set out our bold plans.

Here’s what you need to know.

Scotland’s National Determined Contribution

Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are at the heart of the Paris Agreement, and set out the frameworks and actions to reduce emissions to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

By publishing this, Scotland demonstrates our commitment to openness and working alongside each other that’s so essential for COP26 to succeed.

This NDC focuses on the importance of a just transition to net zero, and recognises climate change as a human rights issue – with bold action essential to the future prosperity of Scotland and our planet.

Ambitious, legally-binding emissions reduction targets

We’re working to reduce emissions of all major greenhouse gases by at least 75% by 2030.

By 2040, we’re committed to reduce emissions by 90%, with the aim of reaching net zero by 2045 at the latest.

The UN praised Scotland’s “inspiring level of ambition” – and these ambitious targets, enshrined into law, are firmly backed up by our bold plan.

Securing a just and fair transition to net zero

A just transition to net zero – reducing emissions in a way that’s fair and leaves no one behind – is central to securing a green recovery from COVID, and is embedded in Scotland’s climate change legislation.

It puts people, communities and places at the heart of our approach to climate action.

It ensures we work together in order to capture opportunities, tackle existing inequalities, and mitigate the risks to those worst impacted – so we don’t repeat the mistakes of Thatcher, where too many communities were simply left behind.

To do that, we have appointed a Just Transition Commission which advises the Scottish Government on the best ways to go forward.

Championing climate justice

We recognise that those who are amongst the most affected by climate change often have done the least to contribute to it, and are often the least equipped to adapt to its effects.

That’s why climate justice runs through the heart of our climate plans – supporting those impoverished and most at risk of climate change, mostly in developing countries.

Scotland established the world’s first and only government-led Climate Justice Fund, empowering communities in Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia and helping them build resilience to climate change impacts.

Driving forward a fully decarbonised transport system

We’re phasing out new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, and we’re working with public bodies to phase out the need for new petrol and diesel light commercial vehicles by 2025.

In aviation, we will decarbonise scheduled flights within Scotland by 2040 and are working to create the world’s first zero-emission aviation region in the Highlands and Islands.

We’re investing in the expansion of bus links and ensuring that the majority of new buses purchased from 2024 are zero-carbon – backed up by our £120m funding.

Across Scotland, we’re improving rail links, putting our railways into public hands, and ensuring they’re fully decarbonised by 2035.

And we’re investing over £500m over the next five years to support an active travel revolution, with new paths and cycle paths in every part of the country – including the £50m Active Freeways to create sustainable transport links between our towns and cities.

Restoring Scotland’s natural environment

Scotland’s natural environment is one of our greatest assets and we must do everything we can to safeguard them for future generations.

Not only are forests and peatlands vital to absorbing greenhouse gases, but they also deliver countless benefits to our economy – helping to develop thriving rural economies based around woodland creation, peatland restoration, sustainable tourism, and more.

We’ve already planted over 22 million trees in the last year, and we’re increasing woodland creation thanks to our additional £130 million commitment for further and faster tree planting.

We’re also investing £250 million to restore 250,000 hectares of peatland by 2030, supporting more good, green jobs in the process.

Decarbonising our homes and buildings

By 2030, we will decarbonise the heating of 1 million homes up and down the country – and from 2024, all newly built homes and buildings will only use renewable or zero emissions heating.

To get there, we’re investing £1.6 billion over the course of this parliament – helping to reduce emissions, while tackling fuel poverty and creating thousands of green jobs.