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Case update 12 September 2023

Scottish Government faces legal action over missing climate assessment

Angelina Dimitrova / Shutterstock

The Scottish Government hasn’t published an assessment of its investment plan’s climate impacts. We’re taking action to make them come clean.

Good Law Project and the Environmental Rights Centre for Scotland will take legal action against the Scottish Government unless it acts urgently to uphold its commitments over the climate crisis.

The Government has pledged to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2045, declaring that Scotland’s contribution to global heating will “end, definitively, within one generation”.

But it’s more than two years since the Government announced its £26bn Infrastructure Investment Plan, and it still hasn’t published an assessment of the plan’s climate impact. 

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This flies in the face of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, which requires the Government to show how investments are in line with emissions targets.

We believe the Government is breaching its own climate commitments, so we’re taking action to make sure it lives up to its promises. 

The Government has repeatedly committed to tackling the climate crisis and reaching net zero, with former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon declaring a “climate emergency” in 2019.

Just last week, while announcing the Programme for Government, First Minister Humza Yousaf said: “while other political parties are abdicating their responsibilities to tackle the climate emergency, we will be unapologetic in taking the action needed to ensure a sustainable future for our children and planet”.

The Government has even committed to embedding the right to a safe climate as part of the Human Rights Bill for Scotland, which is currently under consultation.

“It’s one thing to make climate commitments – it’s another to deliver on them,” Emma Dearnaley, Legal Director at Good Law Project, said. “So it’s vital we can all see if the Government’s investment plans clash with its plans to tackle the climate crisis.”

We have written to the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Net Zero and Just Transition, Màiri McAllan MSP, saying that we will take legal action if this breach of the Climate Change Act is not urgently addressed.

But we can only do this with your support. Add your voice to help us make the Government come clean on this crucial impact assessment.

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