The warmth of the last few days remind me that May can be one of the nicest months in Edinburgh, and it makes a nice change from the cooler-than-average March and April we have just had. Of course our unreliable weather is becoming even more unreliable as the climate changes. The shifting jet stream and the melting Arctic ice may well mean that 2013 turns out to be pretty average for us in Scotland. Globally though it is already predicted to be the warmest ever.
Scotland has a great climate act and really tough climate targets, but we missed the first target in 2010 and probably just scraped through the 2011 target. The Scottish Government is currently putting the final touches to the plan which should show how we will meet the targets between now and 2027, but I just don’t find it convincing.
Even if every policy delivers as planned, every proposal is turned into a firm policy on time and delivers fully, and Europe tightens up its own emissions targets, we will only just scrape through on the annual targets. There is no slack built in. If anything at all goes wrong Scotland will miss multiple targets, with the key 42% reduction by 2020 being one of the most vulnerable.
I’ve seen the value of good examples at the international UN climate conferences and the next three conferences are building up to big decisions in Paris at the end of 2015. I want Scotland to be there talking about how we are meeting targets not missing them, how action on climate change has meant better quality homes, green jobs and cities that are more pleasant to be in. From housing to transport, the Government needs to turn come up with more so we can really meet our targets.
Dr Richard Dixon is Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland
A version of this blog appeared in the Edinburgh Evening News on the 9th May 2013