Scottish Government
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Action on climate change

Ambitious plans to tackle climate change were unveiled yesterday.

The proposal for a statutory target to reduce Scottish emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 is one of the key components of a consultation on Scotland's first Climate Change Bill. It signals Scotland's serious intent to lead the global effort to combat climate change.

Further proposals include:

* Robust annual scrutiny and reporting of progress - an annual measure of progress in achieving the governments targets
* Creating a framework of carbon budgets for Scottish emissions to set out a pathway towards the 2050 target
* Publishing transparent, robust and independent advice on when, and to what level, cuts in emissions should be made

Launching the consultation John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth said:

"Climate change is having a major impact on the world we live in. As a society we are at a crossroads and we must now choose which world we will pass on to our children.

"The Scottish Government is determined to play a leading role in action on climate change. We are proposing to reduce emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 and we expect others to follow. That is the scale of the challenge that confronts us.

"The actions we take today can bring clear and tangible benefits to Scotland now and in the future. Moving towards a low carbon economy can create new jobs and improve local environments as part of our drive to generate sustainable economic growth.

"Government, business and all of the people of Scotland must be ready to rise to the challenge of climate change. We will welcome views on these proposals to ensure we have the right framework to inform our actions for the next 40 years and ensure we build the right future for Scots to enjoy."

Welcoming the consultation document, Ian Marchant, Chair of the Climate Change Business Delivery Group and Chief Executive of Scottish and Southern Energy said:

"Today's consultation clearly describes the scale of the climate challenge facing Scotland. We strongly support the 80 per cent target but now it is time to turn rhetoric into reality.

"As businessmen and women we know it is challenging to grow our businesses and reduce greenhouse gas emissions but we are determined to do exactly that. This is a once in a generation opportunity to get this right, and we look forward to contributing in detail to the Bill consultation in the weeks ahead."

Maf Smith, Director of the Sustainable Development Commission Scotland, commenting on the Scottish Government's approach said:

"Governments across the world know that climate change is a serious problem but many are shying away from taking the necessary action. The Scottish Government must be commended for its intention to lead the way for other countries.

"Tackling climate change is an economic necessity. The longer we leave things, the more it will cost our economy. If Scotland takes action now it can seize the major opportunities for low carbon businesses. This consultation is a necessary step towards the Scottish Climate Bill and pointing Scotland in the right direction."

The consultation on proposals for the Bill will run until April 23, 2008.

The Government hopes to be ready to introduce a draft Bill to the Scottish Parliament before the end of the year.

At a breakfast meeting hosted by the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland (CIOBS) this morning, Mr Swinney set out the challenge of climate change and invited ideas on how the banking and financial services industry can work together with the Scottish Government to respond to this.

Mr Swinney said:

"Unchecked climate change is one of the most serious threats facing us today. It is not just an environmental challenge. Climate change threatens people, our economies and our societies.

"It is a challenge that transcends all traditional boundaries. This is a truly global issue. It can only be tackled if all sectors of society work together.

"I welcome this meeting as an opportunity to set out the challenge of climate change that affects us all, and to explore with representatives of the financial services industry how we can work together to tackle this."

The Minister for Communities and Sport, Stewart Maxwell added: "As we seek to increase the supply of new housing we need to build to higher environmental and design standards than we have seen in the past. But new houses are only a small part of the challenge. We have to find more ways of helping people decide to invest in measures to make existing homes more energy efficient. I have been encouraged by the conversations we have had today relating to potential housing-related products and services such as green mortgages and loans for domestic energy efficiency works."

Simon Thompson, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland, added:

"Scottish bankers have a worldwide reputation for innovation and professionalism, and are applying these qualities here in Scotland and around the world to help society tackle climate change. The Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland is delighted to work with the Scottish Government to consider initiatives that will make a difference here in Scotland, by improving the energy efficiency of the housing stock, which in turn will help us achieve the target of an 80 per cent reduction in emissions by 2050 as set out in the Scottish Climate Change Bill consultation."

The breakfast meeting meeting was attended by Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth John Swinney, Minister for Communities and Sport, Stewart Maxwell and Minister for Transport, Infrastucture and Climate Change, Stewart Stevenson, together with senior representatives from the banking and financial services sector.

The meeting had a particular focus on housing-related products and services such as green mortgages and loans for domestic energy efficiency works. The energy efficiency of Scotland's homes is improving, partly as a result of existing Government programmes, but more needs to be done to achieve the carbon emission reductions needed. Lenders have a potentially significant role to play through products such as green mortgages.

The Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland is the oldest banking Institute in the world. It was set up in 1875 'to improve the qualifications of those engaged in banking and to raise their status and influence'. The Institute is Scotland's leading provider of professional qualifications to the financial services sector. The Institute offers a wide range of modern, high quality, qualifications which are widely recognised, and coordinates both social and professional activities for members.

The Institute received Royal Charters of incorporation in 1976 and 1991. In July 2000, approval was received from the Privy Council to confer Chartered Banker status upon qualified members. The Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland is the only Institute allowed to confer this unique designation.

Today, the Institute is globally regarded as one of the leading providers of professional qualifications to the banking and financial sector.

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