Scotland sets out its sub-nationally determined plan to meet Paris Agreement targets

Posted on 22 July 2021

WWF's overall assessment of the Scottish indicative NDC concluded that it has a ‘Short Way to Go’ to become an ‘NDC We Want’.
(23 July 2021) - Ahead of the city of Glasgow hosting the global COP26 climate conference in November, the Scottish Government has published its national plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 as its contribution to the global efforts to address the climate crisis. Scotland’s mitigation targets are aligned to achieve net-zero GHG emissions by 2045 and are 1.5°C compatible.

Under the Paris Agreement, Parties should submit climate plans - called Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) - that include targets, policies, measures and contributions to global climate action. 
Previously, the UK, including Scotland, were part of a joint EU 2015 Indicative NDC, which set an EU-wide emissions target. On 12 December 2020, the UK, including Scotland, submitted its NDC to the UN, committing to reduce economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions by at least 68% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.
Central to the NDC approach is the principle of national determination. Scotland, as a devolved nation of the UK, has jurisdiction over many of the areas related to climate change, including environment; agriculture, forestry and fisheries; tourism and economic development; many aspects of transport; and housing. With these powers, the Scottish government has legislated for its own climate change ambition, targets and delivery, set out in a number of areas, not least the Climate Change Plan 2018 and Climate Change Plan update 2020 and to reach net-zero GHG emissions by 2045.

While not a Party to the Paris Agreement - and therefore not obliged to publish an NDC - the Scottish Government has adopted the NDC approach. In developing and publishing its sub-national NDC, the Scottish Government responded to a call from WWF and others to demonstrate leadership that will inspire ambitious climate action globally and champion climate justice in advance of COP26 being held in Glasgow. 
WWF is assessing all NDCs in line with its #NDCsWeWant Checklist. This aims to highlight all kinds of progress, encourage best practices, identify key challenges and call out laggards, with the goal of increasing the overall ambition of the NDC process. 

While demonstrating “a comprehensive approach to tackling and adapting to climate change with high ambition,” WWF's overall assessment of the Scottish indicative NDC concluded that it has a ‘Short Way to Go’ to become an ‘NDC We Want’.
The assessment praised Scotland’s mitigation targets for 2030 and 2045 as showing “genuine global leadership in aligning to the 1.5°C ambition” and the publication of an indicative NDC as “a strong example of Scotland’s participatory and just transition policy-making in practice.”
However, following three years of missed targets, the assessment highlighted that “current levels of implementation indicate that a step change is needed to ensure these targets are credibly aligned with implementation.”
Responding to the assessment, WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “The Scottish Government is to be commended for having demonstrated its commitment to tackling the climate and nature crises through the development of its indicative NDC. And while an NDC might not be appropriate for every sub-national, we hope it inspires other actors to set out clear action plans of their own.
“However, as the WWF assessment makes clear, actions to deliver on targets is what the world desperately needs now if we are to keep the 1.5°C ambition alive. That is why we now look to Scottish Government to show how its climate action will be reset to match its high ambition, especially around financing those pledges.”

  • Scotland is one of the original signatories to the Climate Ambition Alliance, launched in December 2019 at COP25.
  • It is also a leading member of the Under 2 Coalition of states and regions committed to keeping warming to below 2˚C while striving for 1.5˚C.
  • It has committed to achieve net-zero greenhouse emissions by 2045.
  • Glasgow will host COP26 from 31 October - 12 November 2021.
For further information, contact Lexi Parfitt, Head of Communications WWF Scotland.     
A Scottish highland cow
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