Maureen’s Matters - Emissions reduction target on track

One of the best things about Aberdeen South and North Kincardine is that this constituency is fortunate to contain beautiful areas of land.

In Aberdeenshire there is a wide range of countryside all across Deeside, whereas in the city itself we have Duthie Park, who only last week made it into a three name shortlist for the Fields in Trust UK’s Best Park award. This is a fitting tribute to the staff’s hard work and dedication.

Following this theme, I saw in the news that last weekend local Portlethen residents took part in National Tree Week in the Community Woodland. Run by the Tree Council, the initiative teaches people about the importance of trees and the significant role they play in the environment through active community engagements. I was amazed to see that, according to the charity’s statistics, up to 200 schools and 8,000 tree wardens across the UK participate in this week of activity.

The environment has always been an issue that matters greatly to my colleagues and I at Parliament. The Scottish Government is on track to meets its 42% emissions reduction target – and in fact are ahead of schedule – and we are also on track to generate 100% of our electricity demands through renewables by 2020.

Crucially, Scotland is looking good when it comes to achieving its targets to tackle climate change: figures released in October show that we have seen a record 36% increase in renewable heat since 2014.

Despite these positive figures we are by no means complacent. The Scottish Government is aware of the serious environmental issues facing the planet that all countries must tackle together if we are to see any real progress.

Last week the First Minister confirmed that she will be attending the Paris climate change talks to “ensure that this summit delivers the step-change needed in the international fight against climate change”.

I have no doubt that Nicola, along with the Scottish Government’s Minister for Climate Change, Aileen McLeod, will drive home the message that Scotland will continue to play its part to protect the planet from global warming.