The Scottish Government is “absolutely committed” to meeting emissions reduction targets, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham has said.
She described the virus as being an “unprecedented global crisis” but also insisted the need to tackle climate change has not gone away.
She spoke out on the issue on Earth Overshoot Day – which marks the date when global demand for ecological resources and services exceeds what the planet can regenerate.
While coronavirus lockdowns in countries across the globe have pushed back the date of this, so it is three weeks later than last year, Ms Cunningham said the occasion was a “striking reminder that the global climate and nature emergencies have not gone away”.
Writing in The Herald newspaper the Environment Secretary said: “The Scottish Government remains absolutely committed to ending Scotland’s contribution to climate change and to improving the state of nature.
“The pandemic has affected every part of our lives, but what has not changed is our absolute commitment to Scotland’s world-leading target for a just transition to net-zero emissions by 2045 – and to reducing our emissions on our 1990 baseline by 75% by 2030.”
Although Ms Cunnignham insisted that “no aspect of this terrible pandemic is to be celebrated” she said coronavirus had underlined “the changes we could see in our environment in the long term if, at this critical juncture, we choose not to return to previous practice”.
She added: “Resetting our pathway towards a sustainable net-zero future, while creating good jobs for people across Scotland, will be the core objective of a just and green recovery from Covid-19.”
Ms Cunningham stressed: “We must learn lessons for the future, redesign our economy and create a different way of life to support a greener, more sustainable society which will secure the wellbeing of our planet for generations to come.
“Our vision for Scotland’s future is one that is sustainable and inclusive, and which centres around the wellbeing of people and planet.”
But she also stressed international efforts were needed on environmental issues, saying: “Turning the tide on climate change is not something that Scotland can do alone. It requires a truly global response.
“Just as the response to Covid-19 has been universal, with countries assisting one another, our net-zero journey ought to be the same.”
Ms Cunningham insisted: “Working in isolation is not an option, and the Scottish Government is committed to working with partners both at home and internationally.”
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