SCOTLAND has lessons to learn from a landmark ruling that found France at fault for failing to take enough action to tackle the climate crisis.

So says Oxfam Scotland which says this is a "wake-up call" to governments around the world that their people can and will hold them to their climate promises.

It said that while there there was "significant progress" in Scotland the last annual reduction target was not met and "time isn't on our side " in advance of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow in November.

Two weeks ago, the UK's Climate Change Committee (CCC) said that the Government’s current policies mean the country is likely to fall short in achieving their targets.

The Scottish Government’s climate change plan aims for net-zero emissions by 2045, with interim targets that include a 75% reduction from 1990s emissions levels by the end of this decade.

The French state failed to take sufficient action to fight climate change, a court has ruled in a case brought by Oxfam France, Greenpeace France and two other organisations.

The Paris administrative court, in its ruling, recognised ecological damage linked to climate change and held the French state responsible for failing to fully meet its goals in reducing greenhouse gases.

President Emmanuel Macron, who has been vocal about his support for climate change action, pushed in December to beef up the European Union’s 2030 targets to reduce greenhouse gases by at least 55% compared with 1990 levels — up from the previous 40% target.

But Oxfam France, Greenpeace France and two other organisations said Mr Macron’s lobbying for global climate action was not backed up by sufficient domestic measures to curb emissions blamed for global warming.

READ MORE: Budget ‘should have been bolder on climate change’

France is missing its national targets that had been set under the 2015 Paris Agreement to curb climate change, and the country has delayed most of its efforts until after 2020.

The court ruled there was a link between ecological damage and deficiencies by the state in respecting its own goals.

The Herald:

It decided that awarding money was not appropriate in this case. Instead, reparations should centre on fixing the failure to respect goals for lowering greenhouse gases.

The four NGOs who brought the case called the decision “a first historic victory for the climate” as well as a “victory for truth”, saying that until now France had denied the “insufficiency of its climate policies”.

The court gave itself two months to decide on measures to repair the problem and stop it from getting worse.

But it did ask the French state to pay each of the four organisations bringing the action a symbolic euro each, a common practice in France.

READ MORE: Warning over 'credibility' of SNP's 2030 carbon reduction pledge

Oxfam say public concern in Scotland about the climate crisis is very strong and growing, with a sharp rise in the proportion of adults viewing climate change as an “immediate and urgent problem”: jumping from 46% in 2013 to 68% in 2019.

Ahead of May’s Scottish Parliament election, Oxfam Scotland is calling on Scotland’s five main political parties to ensure that Scotland shows global leadership on climate change, by both delivering on its own ambitious emission cuts pledges and by boosting the level of financial support it offers poor communities on the frontline of the climate crisis.

Responding to the judgment, Jamie Livingstone, Head of Oxfam Scotland, said: “The Scottish Parliament must accelerate action to deliver on its climate pledges; missing any more annual emissions targets would be a hammer blow to Scotland’s green credentials.

“Another threat to Scotland’s climate credibility is the fact that while the gravity of the climate emergency is increasing, the value of the financial support Scotland gives to help the world’s poorest people to adapt and respond to climate change, is decreasing. “With landmark global climate talks scheduled to take place in Glasgow this November, now is the time for the Scottish Parliament to show a watching world that it will truly walk the walk on climate change. “That means meeting our legally binding targets on emissions cuts while standing in solidarity with the world’s poorest people – who did least to cause the climate crisis yet are being hardest hit – by significantly boosting the financial support we offer them and encouraging other countries to do the same.”

The Scottish Government’s new Climate Change Plan, setting out how Scotland will cut emissions by 75% by 2030, is currently going through Scottish Parliamentary scrutiny.

Campaigners are calling for greater action to cut emissions in sectors where there has been little progress, including in relation to transport, agriculture and buildings.

Two weeks ago in giving evidence to Holyrood’s rural economy committee about the strategy, the CCC’s chief executive Chris Stark said the 2030 target would be “very, very difficult to meet” with the current policies.

While he expressed confidence that net zero could be achieved by 2045, Mr Stark argued the Scottish Government needs more “tough” policies rather than relying on positive incentives to encourage people and businesses to change their behaviour.