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Act for our Future

The Climate Change Bill - Act for Our Future

The Scottish Government is currently drafting a new Climate Change Bill. The aim of the Bill is to set more ambitious targets following the 2015 Paris Agreement. It proposes to increase Scotland’s emissions reduction target from 80% to 90% in 2050.

Together with other members of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS), we are campaigning for a stronger Bill that squarely faces up to the climate crisis and our global responsibilities: a Bill that sets robust targets in line with what is ecologically necessary, ensures that future Government spending is consistent with our climate goals and focuses on policies that will cut emissions rapidly and across the board.

During the consultation period last summer, more than 18,000 people took part in the e-action run by SCCS asking the first minister to step up to the plate and put forward a truly ambitious Bill.

There will be more opportunities in 2018 to influence the Climate Change Bill, check out this useful timeline of the process ahead made by SCCS. If you want to tweet about the campaign, please use the hashtag #oorfuture.

Progress update

On 18th December the Scottish Government published their analysis of the Climate Bill consultation responses. 19,365 responses were received, 19,092 of which were via- and therefore in support of – SCCS’ collective campaign. This means that 99% of responses received were in favour of a net zero emissions target for 2050 or earlier. See SCCS’s press release here.

Our Asks for the Climate Change Bill

Nourish is calling on the Scottish Government to increase their ambition. The proposals set out in the consultation paper do not contain the ambition or action required to deliver the Paris Agreement or to keep temperature increases below 1.5ºC. In order for Scotland to remain a climate leader and deliver our fair share of emissions cuts, the new Climate Change Bill must set stronger targets of at least 80% reduction in emissions by 2030, and reach net-zero emissions by 2040 at the latest.

Food and farming have a crucial contribution to make to mitigate and start adapting to climate change. We are therefore also asking the Scottish Government to drive a just transition in our food and farming sectors. Our 4 food and farming asks are outlined below.

You can download our full consultation response here (.doc 670KB).

A Nitrogen Budget

Nitrogen (N) is a valuable nutrient that is fundamental to agriculture. However, our inefficient use of nitrogen across the food system causes air and water pollution that harms human health and biodiversity. Nitrous Oxide, one of the forms in which nitrogen escapes into our atmosphere, is a potent greenhouse gas and accounts for about 8% of Scotland’s total GHG emissions. We want the Scottish Government to tackle N pollution, and to do that we first need to understand the issue better. Nitrogen budgets are a tool to understand how nitrogen moves across our economy and environment, showing where the largest inefficiencies and wastage are happening.

Together with SCCS, we are asking the Government to commit to developing a nitrogen budget for Scotland by 2020 alongside targets and a set of measures to improve nitrogen use efficiency.

Want to understand this issue better? Read this Nourish briefing: A Nitrogen Budget for Scotland.

You can download the SCCS policy briefing paper written by RSPB hereClimate Bill – Nitrogen Budget

A Nitrogen Budget for Scotland – Nourish Seminar

On 8th November 2017, we convened a seminar with scientific experts, farming and industry representatives, civil society, and policy-makers from Government and Parliament to consider how a N budget would help Scotland cut its nitrogen pollution.

If you missed this seminar, you can catch up here:

  • Prof Mark Sutton on the issue of N pollution and the role of N budgets: video (22 minutes) & presentation
  • Dr Ulli Dragosits on how to make a N budget: video (7 minutes) & presentation
  • The seminar report, summarising the discussions that followed Mark and Ulli’s presentations, prepared by Nourish in cooperation with the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology

More organic agriculture

Organic farming has demonstrated its advantage in climate change mitigation: research consistently identifies that organic farming uses less energy and delivers lower greenhouse gas emissions per unit of area and in most cases per unit of product. In addition, organic management typically leads to higher soil carbon sequestration. These benefits were recognised by the Scottish Government in their 2016 Organic Ambitions plan: “We recognise the wider public benefits of organic farming such as encouraging biodiversity, tackling climate change, improving soils and protecting our water environment.” Yet, the Scottish organic sector is smaller than in most Western European countries and experiencing sluggish growth.

We want the Scottish Government to set a target of 20% by 2030 for the percentage of Region 1 agricultural land in Scotland under organic management. This area-based target must be matched by commensurate supply boost, including through public procurement and marketing of Scottish organic produce.

You can read our blog here or download our SCCS briefing paper here: Climate Bill – Scottish Organic Target

More agroforestry

Agroforestry has the potential to sequester considerable amounts of carbon in the soils as well as various other benefits, including: diversification of farm income, shelter for livestock, fuelwood, better soil health, and biodiversity enhancement. The UKCCC estimated that establishing agroforestry on 0.6% of agricultural land area would deliver a reduction of 0.16 MtCO2e by 2030, which would increase in subsequent years as schemes mature. We support a more ambitious target and strong implementation mechanisms to ensure that the right trees are planted in the right places.

We want the Scottish Government to set the target to establish agroforestry on at least 5% of our agricultural land area by 2030. We also want the Bill to include measures to support farmers to adopt agroforestry measures as well as investment in research and development.

 You can read our blog here.

Accounting for our imports

Our carbon footprint has increased over the past two decades, as growth in imported emissions has more than offset reductions in production emissions. Yet, Scottish Government’s official GHG statistics only account for the the gases emitted in Scotland, in other words we are not assuming any responsibility for the emissions caused abroad when producing or manufacturing stuff for our imports. Food amounts to an estimated 30% of the UK’s consumption emissions. To reduce the true climate impact of our food system, it’s imperative that we focus on supporting low-carbon diets and local, sustainable food production.

We want the new Climate Bill to require Ministers to measure and report annually on Scotland’s consumption emissions. There should also be targets in the Bill for reducing consumption emissions and policies to meet the targets.

You can download our SCCS briefing paper here: Climate Bill – Consumption Emissions

Get in touch

If you have any questions or thoughts about this campaign, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact Celia for general or nitrogen-related queries and Olga for general or organic target-related queries.