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Milestones matter for climate action


Scotland’s Climate Week 2023 is a time for the whole country to come together to show how we can tackle the climate emergency and achieve our ambition of becoming a net zero nation by 2045.  

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That’s not something we can ignore or think that will be done for us – we all have a role, and responsibility, in making that happen; as individuals, as families, as consumers, as businesses.

And that’s the theme of this year’s Climate Week – taking action in the areas that can make the most difference while keeping our eyes on that net zero prize.

There’s been lots of talk in the last few days about net zero, why it matters and how we get there.

What that’s really confirmed for me is not just the importance of having that net zero North Star guiding our way, but how vital it is to have clear milestones along the way that keep us on the right track for that cleaner, greener future.

To achieve that, our focus must shift from ambition to action. With that in mind, it was particularly encouraging to hear the First Minister at a climate summit in New York last week say that ‘the time for talking is over’ and ‘what we need now is action’. I couldn’t agree more.

Scotland’s forthcoming Climate Change Plan is a fantastic opportunity to really bring that to life and put in place the policies that will support investment, create new jobs, support supply chains, improve public health and help create a thriving society that supports a sustainable economy.

We can build on the transformation that we have seen across the power sector and show the same climate leadership by setting out bold actions that will drive down emissions, especially from heating and transport, which are the two biggest contributors to our climate emissions.

Around one fifth of greenhouse gas emissions come from heating our homes and workplaces. The Climate Change Plan has an important role in setting out how we will turbocharge the move away from gas boilers to cleaner and more sustainable forms of heating.

Decarbonising Scotland’s homes and buildings is crucial to meeting the 2045 net zero target; we urgently need to establish the regulatory framework for zero emissions heating and energy efficiency, and the necessary underpinning powers to support this transition.  The Climate Change Plan must kick start this process so we can move to the Heat in Buildings Bill as soon as possible.

Alongside this, addressing car use is essential if we are to reach net zero by 2045 – whether that’s reducing the need to travel by supporting 20-minute neighbourhoods, encouraging modal shift to active travel and public transport or, of course, enabling the adoption of EVs.

Again, the Climate Change Plan can help us get there and minimise the potential climate impacts not just on our country and people, but globally.

We don’t have to look far to see the devastating impact of climate change, so doing nothing – or just talking about doing something – is not an option.

The message couldn’t be starker – we have to take action now. As the First Minister said: “The stakes could not be higher. The very existence of our planet and humanity depends on it.”

As the first integrated energy company to generate only 100% green electricity, serving millions of customers across the UK, employing thousands of staff and investing £8 million every working day in cleaner and greener futures, ScottishPower is here to support people and communities on that journey.

For us, that means everything from increasing renewables capacity to generate more homegrown green electricity; strengthening the grid to support the increase in low carbon technologies; to providing the smart solutions for customers to make the most of all of this by 2045.

2045 might seem like a very long way away, but there are only seven years until 2030 and, if Scotland is to be on track, we must cut our emissions by 75% by then.

That’s a real challenge, but with that comes huge opportunity and that’s what makes it so exciting as we work towards an affordable, secure and sustainable net zero future.

Scotland was the first country to declare a climate emergency in 2019, so let’s make this year’s Climate Week the launchpad for furthering our collective climate consciousness, taking climate action and becoming climate ready.

We can do it and we must do it.