Scotland’s contribution to the Paris Agreement – an indicative NDC

Paul Richardson ,
23 Jul 2021

coverPaul Richardson, Policy Adviser (Agriculture and Climate Change) at Scottish Land and Estates, provides a summary of the Indicative Nationally Determined Contributions, published by Scottish Government on 23 July 2021.

As part of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, signatories are required to publish Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) - plans setting out the actions they are taking to contribute to the goal of limiting global warming.

As part of the UK, Scotland cannot formally submit a NDC (hence indicative) to the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change). A summary of Scotland’s approach to tackling climate change was included within the UK-wide NDC on 12 December 2020.

Scotland’s indicative NDC is in three parts and follows a similar format to the UNFCCC framework, reinforcing Scotland’s support of the Paris Agreement. Whilst there is nothing new in the iNDC, it underlines Scotland’s ambitious legally binding reductions targets, and identifies the statutory frameworks in place – notably the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, as amended by the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019.

By way of a reminder, Scotland has a target to reduce emissions of all major greenhouse gases by at least 75% by 2030 (compared to a 1990/1995 baseline), and a net-zero emissions target date of 2045.

Referring to nature-based solutions, the iNDC says we can expect a “group of senior Environmental Champions” – to be appointed by the Scottish Government prior to COP26 – to “help inform, advise and guide Scottish action to addressing the twin crises of biodiversity and climate”.

The document goes on to identify domestic institutional arrangements, such as legal and policy measures, initiatives already being implemented, and seven high level outcomes closely aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals:

  1. Our communities are inclusive, empowered, resilient and safe in response to the changing climate
  2. The people in Scotland who are most vulnerable to climate change are able to adapt and climate justice is embedded in climate change adaptation policy
  3. Our inclusive and sustainable economy is flexible, adaptable and responsible to the changing climate
  4. Our society’s supporting systems are resilient to climate change
  5. Our natural environment is valued, enjoyed, protected and enhanced and had increased resilience to climate change
  6. Our coastal and marine environment is valued, enjoyed, protected and enhanced and has increased resilience to climate change
  7. Our international networks are adaptable to climate change