Climate Change Bill

Closed 22 Sep 2017

Opened 30 Jun 2017

Feedback updated 24 May 2018

We asked

We asked for views on our proposals for a Climate Change Bill.  We asked for views on overall greenhouse gas emission reduction target levels, and whether to set them all as percentage reductions from baseline. The proposed targets included a 2050 target of 90%, 2040 target of 78%, 2030 target of 66% and a 2020 target of 56%. It was proposed that annual targets would be set directly, as percentage figures, from these interim targets rather than via secondary legislation. We also asked for views on including provisions that would allow Ministers to set a net-zero (100% emissions reduction) target.

We asked for views on the target and reporting framework, including:

  • Removing the EU-ETS adjustment and reporting on actual emissions;
  • Allowing targets to be adjusted through secondary legislation;
  • Criteria to be considered when updating targets; and
  • Changes to the process for Climate Change Plans.

We also asked for views in relation to impacts on equalities, children and young people and business, as well as views on the Strategic Environmental Assessment.

You said

There were 273 non-campaign responses to the consultation and 19,092 campaign responses. We commissioned independent contractors to undertake analysis of the report and you can find the consultation analysis report here:

We did

After serious consideration of all consultation responses, the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill was introduced into Parliament on 23 May.   

The vast majority of respondents supported raising the ambition of the climate change targets for 2020, 2030, 2040 and 2050 and the Bill includes the target levels consulted on (as set out above).

A majority of respondents who answered the yes/no question on including provisions in the new Climate Change Bill that allow for a net-zero greenhouse gas emission target to be set at a later date supported the proposal. Campaign respondents, and many other respondents, called for a net-zero target year to be set now.  In response, the Bill goes further than was originally proposed, and requires Ministers to request regular advice on the earliest achievable net-zero target year. If they are advised of a year and do not set it in regulations, they must explain to Parliament why they did not do so. 

All targets will be set as percentage reductions and annual targets will be calculated directly from interim targets. Absolute emissions figures will continue to be reported, as called for by some respondents.

Targets will be reported based on actual emissions and not adjusted for the operation of trading schemes such as the EU-ETS.

Parliament will be able to adjust target levels either upwards or downwards.  In response to concerns from some respondents about being able to adjust them downwards, limitations are placed on this ability.

The fair and safe emissions budget criteria is retained as requested by some respondents.

The process for the development of Climate Change Plans is amended, including extending the time for Parliamentary consideration and requiring that Plans set out actions for compensating for shortfalls against previous targets.

More detail can also be found in the Policy Memorandum for the Bill which is available here:

Results updated 18 Dec 2017


Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


Action to mitigate climate change is a key component of the Scottish Government’s aim to create a growing, sustainable and inclusive economy. The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 set world-leading greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, including a target to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050.

The Scottish Government intends to introduce a new Climate Change Bill with even more ambitious targets. Proposals include setting targets based on actual emissions, increasing the 2050 target to 90% emissions reduction, and making provisions for a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target to be set when a credible and costed pathway can be demonstrated.

A number of technical amendments designed to improve the transparency of the targets and functioning of the Act are also being considered. The Bill will reaffirm the Scottish Government’s commitment to focusing Government and public services on creating a more successful country, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish, through increasing sustainable economic growth.

Further information on the details included within the proposals can be found in the Climate Change Bill Consultation Paper available below.

Additional accompanying documents can also be found at the bottom of this page. These include a Stage 1 CRWIA template and a Partial Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment, views on which should be provided by answering Questions 10 and 11 of the consultation respectively.

The Scottish Government has undertaken a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the proposals for a new Climate Change Bill. This assessment has been undertaken in accordance with the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 to consider the significant environmental effects that are considered likely to arise as a result of the proposals.  The Environmental Report setting out the findings of the assessment is available below and on the Scottish Government website. Views on the Environmental Report should be provided by answering Questions 10 and 12 of the consultation respectively.

Why your views matter

The Scottish Government have already received advice from the UK Committee on Climate Change, our expert advisors, on how the new Bill may look, including the level of ambition of new Scottish climate targets, and the accounting framework within which to measure emissions. This advice has been carefully considered by the Scottish Government, in discussion with key stakeholders, and forms the basis of the proposals set out in this consultation paper.

We are now seeking the views of a broader range of stakeholders and members of the public on a set of proposals for a new Climate Change Bill. The consultation has thirteen questions, of which three are about the level of ambition of the targets. Nine of the questions are about the technical underpinnings of target measurement and functioning of the Act.  These questions are more likely to be of interest to key stakeholders and professionals with a high level of understanding of the issues.  The final question asks respondents to provide any additional thoughts on the consultation not covered elsewhere. Following the close of the consultation on the 22nd September, all responses will be given full consideration as part of the process to finalise the Bill.

Download the consultation paper.


  • Environment and Climate Change