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The journey of Scotland tackling climate change..

At the beginning of May 2019 the Scottish Government committed to cutting Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2045, to end the nation’s contribution to climate change. 10 years ago the Scottish Parliament paved the way for this when it unanimously voted for a target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 42% by 2020, the most ambitious climate change legislation at the time. 

This was a huge moment, everyday people from all across Scotland came together and raised their voices, Scottish businesses and academics and others saw the benefits of acting on climate, and politicians being ambitious and doing what was necessary. This resulted in Scotland creating what at that time was the world’ most ambitious climate change legislation and leading the way to tackle the devastation of climate change on our planet. 

22nd April 2009

Campaigners from across Scotland gathered outside the Scottish Parliament to call on MSPs to deliver a stronger Climate Change Bill. At the time it was the largest rally to ever be held outside the Scottish Parliament. Thousands of messages to MSPs were written and coloured in on miniature cardboard cut-out people.

24th April 2009

The Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee published its report on the Climate Change Bill. The report called ‘strong early action’, for the interim target to be brought forward from 2030 to 2020, and for greater emphasis on policies to cut emissions in the Bill. 

6th May 2009

The whole Scottish Parliament debated the Climate Change Bill for the first time. History was being made! John Swinney (now the deputy First Minister) promised to move to an earlier interim target – for 2020 instead of 2030. 

23rd June 2009

The Scottish Government introduced an amendment to the Climate Change Bill increasing Scotland’s target for 2020 to an ambitious 42%, as called for by 1,000s of members of the public, and many of Scotland’s civic organisations.

24th June 2009

The Scottish Parliament voted unanimously to support Scotland’s Climate Change Bill, setting  world leading climate change targets. This included a target for 2020 of reducing Scotland’s emissions by 42% in comparison with 1990 levels, this has been reached ahead of schedule!


25th June 2009

Arnold Schwarzenegger, then Governor of California, supported Scotland’s Climate Change Bill saying “Scotland's ambitious and comprehensive targets encourage other nations to step up…it sends a message to the world that we must act now and we must act swiftly”.

4th August 2009

The Climate Change Scotland Bill became the Climate Change Scotland Act 2009. Setting for the time world leading climate change targets! 

5th December 2009

8,000 people joined The Wave, Scotland’s biggest ever demonstration to demand action on climate change.


After 10 more years of campaigning on climate change...

Since 2009, Scotland met it’s 2020 emissions reductions target early. We’ve decarbonised our entire electricity sector, seen Scottish industries from whisky distilleries to bus manufacturers commit to reducing their emissions. There have been new industries arise from Glasgow-built heat pumps powering cities in Norway, to Scotland sharing its renewable expertise with over 72 countries around the world. 

2nd May 2019

The Scottish Government announced a climate emergency in Scotland and lodged amendments to the Climate Change Bill to set a legally binding target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 at the latest.