Scotland missed its annual emissions target in 2018 – and the 2020 target is only likely to be met because lockdown restrictions have constrained them temporarily, government advisers have warned.

Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions fell by 31% in the decade 2008 to 2018, faster than any other nation of the UK and any G20 nation over the same period, according to the study.

This was led by action in the power sector, where Scottish renewable generation has tripled and fossil-fuelled generation has fallen by more than 70% in the last decade - including the closure of Scotland's last coal-fired power plant in 2016.

But the new Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC) 2020 Progress Report says success over the next decade is "not a given". Over the same decade, emissions in the other sectors of the Scottish economy fell by just 14%.

And it has called on ministers to updated its planning and set out a "new era of climate change action in Scotland" which puts the nation firmly on course to become a Net Zero economy by 2045.

Sustained action over the long-term "is now imperative" to meet Scotland’s demanding targets, the committee said.

It also wants the Scottish Government to set out a vision for the future of low-carbon heating in Scotland's homes and other buildings, integrated with UK Government decisions on the future of the UK gas grid and energy taxation.

It wants ministesr to devise more ways to make it easy for people to walk, cycle, use public transport, and work from home in Scotland, and ensure electric vehicle charging infrastructure and are in place to eliminate the need to buy a petrol or diesel car in Scotland by 2032 at the latest.

The gropu also called for an acceleration in investments in low-carbon and climate adaptation infrastructure to "stimulate Scotland’s economy", build long-term productive capacity and improve climate resilience.

Committee chairman Lord Deben said: “Scotland faces an extraordinary challenge in dealing with Covid-19, but we must not lose sight of the climate crisis. The decisions to secure a resilient recovery are pivotal.

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"Scotland can no longer rely on electricity generation to reduce its emissions, so it must begin to make more meaningful progress in the other sectors of the economy. To reach net-zero emissions ahead of the rest of the UK and to earn its stripes as an international climate leader when the world looks to Glasgow next year, decisive action and clear policies are urgently required.”

The report came as environmental activists Extinction Rebellion launched a three-week campaign of non-violent "civil disobedience" throughout Scotland to highlight the threat of climate change.

The activists pledged to carry out demonstrations in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Aberdeen, Inverness, Stirling and elsewhere in the country. The direct action campaign will include banner drops, flyposting, stickering, street performances and silent vigils.

It will culminate on October 26, the day the Scottish Parliament reconvenes.

The group said the protests had been “designed with Covid-19 safety in mind”.

Entitled Make the Connections, its civil disobedience actions are aimed at raising awareness of “the collusion between the finance sector, Scottish and UK Government, and the fossil fuel industry, in particular North Sea oil and gas”.

Responding to the report, environment and climate change secretary, Roseanna Cunningham, accepted that the nation had to step things up to meet emission targets.

“While in recent months coronavirus has rightly been the overwhelming focus of governments across the world, the global climate emergency has not gone away – far from it - and this report is a timely reminder of that," she said.

“Today’s publication of independent, expert advice from the committee is of particular significance, coming at a time when building a green recovery must be central to all of our efforts.

“As the report points out, Scotland’s economy has decarbonised more quickly than the rest of the UK, and faster than any G20 economy since 2008. We have halved our national emissions since 1990 but we must go further and faster if we are to achieve a just transition to net-zero by 2045.

“We are now in the process of updating our Climate Change Plan, for publication later this year, and I will be considering the recommendations in the committee’s report very carefully as we finalise this plan in the coming months.

“However, there can be no doubt Scotland’s climate change targets are immensely challenging. If we are to succeed in ending our contribution to global climate change, it will require action from every area of society and the economy. It must be a shared national endeavour.

“And as the Committee’s report makes clear, there must be more action – right now and in the future - from the UK Government in many key areas where policy levers remain reserved.

"I hope the global climate talks at COP26 in Glasgow next year will also provide a platform to spur wider action and set the whole world on a course to net-zero in a way that is both just and fair for all living on this precious planet and for generations to come.”