Scottish Government failing to meet its environmental targets

A new report by the Institute for European Environmental Policy says that the Scottish Government is failing to meet its targets on reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment.

The report was commissioned by the RSPB, WWF Scotland, and the Scottish Wildlife Trust.

It looks at:

  • the lack of effective measures to reduce carbon emissions particularly from transport and housing
  • the poor record of environmental protection through farm support schemes, and
  • the lack of progress with marine conservation.

There is a summary on the Sustainable Scotland Network website here, and the full report is available on the RSPB website here.

The report argues that the government’s efforts have been repeatedly undermined by lack of funding, poor implementation and fears of vested economic interests.  It paints a familiar picture of the gap between political rhetoric and reality – between policy and practice.  Politicians say the right things, strategies place a strong emphasis on the environment, ambitious targets are set for improvements away into the future – but there is a lack of real progress due to a failure to take the tough decisions required to make it happen.

This reflects the “tokenism” around sustainable development and environmental policy, from the G8 summit meetings to local authority policies and private sector PR.  So often, it has seemed that progress has been made, only for it to melt away like a mirage.  Politicians are afraid to upset business interests on the one side, and voters on the other, by pushing through changes that may be unpopular.