Scotland 'setting example' at UN climate change summit

Wind turbine The Scottish government has set ambitious climate change targets

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Scottish Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson has said the country is making "real progress" towards meeting its climate change targets.

He was speaking before travelling to South Africa to attend this year's UN climate change conference in Durban.

Mr Stevenson said Scotland had a valuable role to play at the talks.

He said Scotland was a good example of how countries could cut carbon emissions and create jobs through the development of renewable energy.

"Scotland is clearly a leader in the climate change agenda, " he said.

"We've set the world's most ambitious targets and we're a developed country showing that we can live with this agenda while creating new, green jobs.

"There's a model there for many countries around the world that we can discuss and we can show examples of good practice from Scotland. We know from our previous engagement that does influence people in other countries."

Ambitious targets

The Scottish Parliament's climate change legislation requires a 42% reduction in emissions by the end of the decade. But the Scottish government has been criticised in the past for not doing enough to ensure that target is met.

Mr Stevenson denied that was the case.

He told BBC Scotland: "We're at 27.6%, that's two thirds of the way there. Some of the reasons for that are because economic activity is reduced but embedded in that is real progress."

Environmental campaigners believe the Scottish government's actions at home must live up to its rhetoric in Durban.

Tom Ballantine of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland said: "Unlike other areas of the UK, the Scottish government has recognised that creating a low carbon Scotland can go hand-in-hand with creating jobs and helping our economy grow.

"As the Scottish government heads to Durban to tell other countries about our climate change laws, they must ensure that action here in Scotland ensures we achieve the ambitious targets we have set ourselves."

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