NICOLA Sturgeon has announced the Scottish Government will draw up a plan to attract “new and additional sources of investment” in order to meet key climate change targets.

The First Minister has also insisted that the UK hosting the COP26 conference in Glasgow later this year is crucial to global efforts to combat the climate emergency.

She has warned that "climate change remains the greatest challenge facing this planet", adding that "COP26 is our best, perhaps our only chance to address it".

The Scottish Government has committed to becoming a carbon neutral country by 2045 and has updated its strategy to cut 1990 levels of emissions by 75% by 2030.

The First Minister has stressed that in order for the targets to be met, more investment will be needed - including to help scale up wind turbine capacity.

Speaking to a virtual gathering of Scottish business and investment leaders today, the First Minister said that welcoming the international climate change conference to Scotland at the UK Government's COP26 event in November "is a huge honour – but it is also a huge responsibility".

READ MORE: Taxing red meat could help Scotland reach climate targets

Ms Sturgeon announced that the Scottish Government will set up a net zero leaders group to support state and regional governments in their climate ambitions and provide practical and technical support for the implementation of net-zero commitments.

In partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies, the net zero leaders group will play a leading role in increasing knowledge among governments on actions to transition to net-zero.

A new global capital investment plan will also be launched later this month setting out how Scotland can attract the investment needed to become a successful net-zero economy.

Speaking at the event, Ms Sturgeon said: “Our climate change plan makes clear that we will need more investment in net zero infrastructure - from offshore wind to heat networks.

“Scotland of course currently does very well in attracting inward investment. We also perform relatively strongly at attracting capital investment in the low carbon or net zero sector. And this year, we have launched a new National Investment Bank. Its key mission will be to help the transition to a net zero economy.

“But the scale of our net zero ambitions means that we need new and additional sources of investment.

READ MORE: Scotland 'won't hit climate targets without private funds'

“That is why, later this month, we will launch a new global capital investment plan.

“It covers three broad areas – commercial property, infrastructure, and direct investment into businesses. And it sets out how we will attract the investment we need to become a successful net zero economy.”

The First Minister said the plan will be “informed by detailed analysis”.

She added: “For example we have identified sectors where Scotland might be particularly attractive to investors – such as renewable technology, life sciences, digital and IT. We have also assessed how these sectors match with global demand for investment.”

The First Minister also spoke about the importance of the COP26 conference.

She said: “The decisions made at COP26 affect the prosperity, health, and wellbeing of all of us. COP26 is vital to the future of the planet we share.

“We all have a responsibility to deliver a safe and secure conference. But above all, we have a responsibility to lead by example. As one of the nations which led the world into the industrial age, we want this year, to help to lead the world into the net-zero age.

“Climate change remains the greatest challenge facing this planet. And COP26 is our best, perhaps only, chance to address it.

“Scotland, as a responsible global citizen, will do everything we can to play our part.”

Jamie Livingstone, head of Oxfam Scotland, welcomed the First Minister’s commitment to lead by example ahead of COP26 but has urged all political parties in Scotland to remember the world’s poorest in the race to reach net zero. 

He said: “Scotland’s emissions reduction targets are rightly ambitious, but they’re only part of the puzzle.  

“Right now, people in the world’s poorest countries are being left to pick up the climate bill for a tab they never created; losing their lives and homes while rich, historically big polluting countries offer too little financial support to help them cope."   

Mr Livingstone added: “While the world burns, Scotland’s own fund to help poor countries cope with climate change has remained frozen for five years.

"It’s vital that ahead of COP26 Scotland demonstrates global leadership by increasing the amount of financial support it offers countries on the front line of the climate crisis while encouraging other countries to do similarly.”