Scottish Government
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Public sector to cut emissions

New guidance to help public sector bodies meet their responsibilities under the Climate Change Act has been published.

Public bodies are invited to give their views on the guidance, which encourages them to set their own emissions targets and make tackling climate change a priority.

Climate Change Minister Stewart Stevenson said the public sector must 'show leadership' by cutting its emissions.

Mr Stevenson said:

"Climate change is one of the greatest challenges the world faces, with significant consequences for the environment, society and the economy. Parliament, with strong support from across civic society and business, last year voted to set the most ambitious climate change targets anywhere in the world.

"Scotland's public bodies have a significant influence on emissions, not just directly, but through the goods and services they deliver and procure. They must play their part in tackling climate change and our guidance offers a step-by-step approach which will help bodies to understand their duties and identify the actions they can take to deliver them.

"Action to reduce public sector emissions is already underway. Earlier this year, the Government launched an initiative to encourage the use of low carbon vehicles by our public services and NHS Scotland's emissions from buildings' energy use has fallen by 34 per cent on 1990 levels. However, there is still much more to do.

"Scotland has already reached the half-way point in achieving our 2020 target of reducing emissions by 42 per cent but even if global emissions follow suit, this will not stop changes to the climate as a result of damage already done. So alongside action to reduce emissions, Scotland also must plan to adapt to the changing climate and Scotland's public bodies should be prepared to build resilience to ensure they can continue to deliver crucial public services."

Part 4 of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 places duties on public bodies relating to climate change, which will commence on 1 January 2011, and a statutory requirement on Scottish Ministers to give guidance to public bodies in relation to those duties.

The duties will apply to approximately 5,000 public bodies all defined as a Scottish public authority within the meaning of Section 3(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

The consultation will run for 10 weeks and close on Friday November 26, 2010.

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