The Scottish and UK governments must increase their climate ambitions in the same way as US leaders now appear to be doing, the Scottish Greens have said.
The party’s co-leader Lorna Slater welcomed president Joe Biden and vice-president Kamala Harris taking office in the US, and their appointment of former American secretary of state John Kerry to take the lead on climate change policy.
Mr Kerry has said the inauguration of Mr Biden marked the start of the “road to Glasgow” and the Cop26 United Nations environment summit in November, which he said would set “a floor, not a ceiling” in the fight against climate change.
President Biden also signed an executive order to rejoin the Paris climate agreement on his first day in office.
Ms Slater called on the Scottish and UK governments to increase their own green targets before the global summit, saying current ambition is “entirely inadequate”.
She said: “Hosting the global climate summit is a huge opportunity for both governments to demonstrate a desire to go further and faster than ever before.
“Instead, these governments are ploughing ahead with road expansion schemes, supporting continued oil exploration, airport expansion and even, in the case of the UK Government, supporting the opening of a new coal mine.
“The Scottish Greens have shown how we can change our infrastructure spending priorities to tackle the climate crisis and create good jobs as part of a green recovery from the coronavirus crisis.
“Our rail for all programme would modernise Scotland’s railway, making it affordable and accessible to all. The Scottish Government shows no such ambition.”
Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “Scotland is already leading the world on tackling the twin crises of climate change and ecological decline. We have the single most ambitious legal framework for emissions reduction in the world and, in December, updated our Climate Change Plan with over 100 new policies to help us achieve a just transition to net zero by 2045.
“Our commitment is unwavering and is central to our green recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We fully recognise the responsibility we have of welcoming COP26 to Scotland.
“This year will be a critical time for securing ambitious international and national climate commitments and, critically, translating these into demonstrable actions.
“We are committed to playing our full part in securing those commitments in the lead up to, and during, COP26.
“In addition, Cop26 is an opportunity to showcase Scotland’s world-leading approach to reducing emissions and ensuring a just transition, where no one is left behind and in the spirit of international solidarity, taking the novel approach of publishing an indicative Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), reflecting Scotland’s contribution to the Paris Agreement.
“By highlighting our own action, we aim that others will follow our lead in setting such ambitious targets and moving to a fairer and net zero world.”