Legal threat forces Scottish government to come clean on carbon emissions

Legal threat forces Scottish government to come clean on carbon emissions

In response to a threat of legal action by the Environmental Rights Centre for Scotland (ERCS) and Good Law Project, the Scottish government has confirmed it will publish a detailed assessment of the carbon emissions expected from its £26 billion investment plan from next week.

ERCS and the Good Law Project took legal action in September last year, forcing the government to admit that its failure to publish any assessment of the climate impact of its Infrastructure Investment Plan was in breach of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009.

Ministers said they had begun “urgent work” to address this problem. But when it emerged they were withholding details of the emissions the plan is expected to produce, the groups pointed out that this work would not be enough.

The government has now upheld its “commitment to complying fully with the section 94A duty through the publication of the assessment as soon as possible”. This assessment is now due to be published in the week beginning 15 January.

Good Law Project and ERCS look forward to the publication of these crucial details in full and will be taking a close look at the assessment as soon as it is published, to ensure it is up to scratch and fully complies with the Scottish government’s legal duties.

Dr Shivali Fifield, chief officer at ERCS, said: “We are pleased to hear the government has made progress on its climate impact assessment. However, this promise to publish must be matched with transparent calculations of the emissions anticipated from the Infrastructure Investment Plan. This is the only way to credibly demonstrate compatibility with Net Zero targets. If Scotland is serious about being a climate leader, this assessment must be comprehensive, detailed, and robust. We’ll wait to see next week if it is.”

Good Law Project legal director, Emma Dearnaley, said: “We’re facing a climate emergency, so it’s crucial we can see whether or not the Scottish government’s plan will impact our ability to reach net zero.

“It’s encouraging that Scottish ministers have now committed to publish a climate impact assessment of its plan - following our further legal pressure. If only the UK Government was prepared to follow Scotland’s lead and come to the table to enable climate transparency in the same way.”

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