Edinburgh City Council is off track meeting its bold pledge to become a net zero city by 2030 as crunch talks are to be held over a funding row for cleaning up heat in buildings.

The city council has committed to become net zero by 2030, 15 years ahead of the Scotland-wide ambition of 2045.

But a stark report from city council officials has revealed that the local authority is off track in meeting the ambition.

The citywide emissions report shows that “there has been a 12% rebound in greenhouse gas emissions in Edinburgh from 2020 to 2021”, the latest available data.

The increase in harmful emissions has been put down to “a significant drop due to the Covid pandemic”.

But officials have warned that “emissions would need to drop by a substantial 18% to achieve the indicative target of 25% reduction set for 2022”.

As things stand, the city is now off track on its “target pathway” to reaching net zero by 2030.

Council chiefs have insisted they remain committed to the 2030 target, but political opponents have called for councillors to use the report as a “wake-up call” to ensure policies are “pragmatic and sensible”.

Conservative Lothian MSP, Sue Webber, said: “Edinburgh City Council must be realistic – and upfront with capital residents – on their net zero targets.

“It will come as a little surprise to many in the city that the local authority is off track to hit its net zero target by 2030.

“When I was a councillor, I raised concerns about the targets being missed but my worries fell on deaf ears.”

She added: “This report must be a wake-up call for the council leader and officials to ensure their policies are pragmatic and sensible and have the support of local people.

“That must be backed up by the SNP-Green Government in Holyrood fully funding our local councils rather than imposing savage cuts on them year after year.

“If Edinburgh Council isn't going to meet the 2030 target, it must be upfront about when they will hit their net zero targets and how they will achieve this.”

One of the biggest challenges for the capital to reach net zero by 2030, when the city’s contribution to the climate crisis will end, is upgrading how buildings are heated – with the majority of Edinburgh’s homes warmed by traditional fossil fuel gas boilers.

The Scottish Government has required local councils to publish Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategies (LHEES).

But the document drawn up by Edinburgh City Council has warned that the “scale of investment required is likely to necessitate institutional investment”, adding that “public funds alone” will not be enough.

The report also states that the “overall scale of investment” required is “significant”, adding that “there is not yet a comprehensive funding strategy”.

It adds that the local authority will focus on “the council’s own estate and areas at greatest risk of fuel poverty”.

The report says: “At present, the only new dedicated funding that has been made available for the delivery of the Edinburgh LHEES is an annual grant of £75,000 per annum from the Scottish Government for the period 2022/23 to 2027/28.”

Labour council leader, Cammy Day, has insisted the 2030 net zero strategy will remain intact, but has called an urgent meeting with SNP Net Zero Secretary Mairi McAllan after a fund to retrofit local authorities’ own buildings has been withdrawn.

He said: “Our ambitious net zero initiatives - including transport projects and housing delivery will be impacted, putting increased pressure on our already stretched budget.

“I was further disappointed to learn that the Scottish Government has withdrawn the £10million Green Growth Accelerator Funding to support retrofit of our estate.”

Mr Day added: “I have written to the Scottish Government and scheduled a meeting with the Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero next week to discuss this issue and how we continue to make progress in this space as Scotland’s leading local authority.

“We must keep to our net zero by 2030 ambitions, not only because it is the right thing to do for this and future generations, but because debating whether or not we’re going to achieve all of our objectives by 2030 only delays action.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We are committed to achieving net zero and heat transition is central to that commitment. Local authorities share that ambition.

“That’s why we have committed £1.8bn during the course of this parliament to support the transition. We have a broad range of delivery programmes to provide advice and support for property owners related to energy efficiency and clean heating, and of the UK nations, Scotland has the most generous package of grants and loans available for households who are seeking to move to clean heating.

“Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategies (LHEES) are an important part of that process but local authorities are not expected to deliver all parts of them alone – they are an opportunity to set out how households and businesses play a part as well and we see evidence that this has been increasing.

“We need innovative solutions, but we are clear that this will not be funded wholly by the public sector and that private investment (both institutional and individual) will have a role – the second report from the Green Heat Finance Taskforce will focus on area-based models and how they could unlock large scale investment. “