It was Groundhog Day on climate change targets this week as the Scottish Government again failed to meet its legally binding annual climate change goal for the fourth year in a row.

However, the cycle of annual failure could have been broken if ministers had responded to the repeated advice of its independent advisers, the UK Committee on Climate Change, and introduced policies to cut emissions from areas such as transport, agriculture and housing; not only would we be making progress in tackling climate change but people would also be starting to see the tangible benefits a low carbon economy will bring to Scotland.

The missed targets prompted a promising commitment from the Scottish Government to designate energy efficiency as a National Infrastructure Priority (Nip). If done properly, this will help to cut bills for the 940,000 homes in fuel poverty in Scotland, create new jobs in the insulation sector, cut excess winter deaths and other health problems associated with cold homes, relieving pressure on the NHS, and cut emissions.

WWF Scotland, as a member of the Existing Homes Alliance (EHA), comprising environmental, anti-poverty, consumer, housing and building organisations,has been calling for this to happen. But it's critical to get the detail right if it's really to represent a step change in ambition. The EHA believes that designating energy efficiency as a Nip should mean the Scottish Government putting together a comprehensive plan to upgrade some 130,000 homes a year, so that all homes achieve a C energy performance standard by 2025; invest substantially more funding from its capital budget; and make available a mix of grants for the fuel poor and low interest loans for those who are able to pay. Private funding will also have an important role to play.

The energy efficiency statement is the first time we've seen a potentially transformational policy as a result of the Climate Change Act. However, there was little change in other sectors. Although a new, high-level, Cabinet sub committee on climate change was established a year ago, there's still no plan to tackle emissions from transport, which remain at 1990 levels. The Scottish Government continues to privilege road building over ambitious policies that would support people to make sustainable and active travel choices. Joining up the dots to reduce air pollution, congestion, climate emissions and obesity through more cycling and walking, green public transport, and electric vehicles is a huge opportunity that could be seized with greater political will.

The Scottish Government is quick to point out that it's on course to meeting its 2020 target.

While it's true that we are on track to a 42 per cent reduction by 2020 (38 per cent at present), there is a risk we will miss every annual target along the way, putting tens of millions more tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere than Scotland's Climate Act allows. The 38 per cent reduction is being driven by the same accounting changes the Government blames for missing the fixed annual targets. While these accounting changes are more accurate and therefore welcome, without them Scotland would only have delivered a 29 per cent reduction in emissions. The Government is clearly only painting half the picture. Instead of focussing on the nitty-gritty of measurement and accounting, we need to make sure we are laying the policy foundations for a successful, low-carbon Scotland.

Last month, more than 6,000 people called on the First Minister to tackle climate change for the the many things we love that are affected by it, by leading at home and abroad. Those messages were handed over at a rally organised at the Scottish Parliament by Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS), a coalition of international development and environment organisations, unions, students, faith and community groups.

This is a big year for climate change action globally, with the forthcoming UN climate conference in Paris. There have been lots of good news stories in recent months, such as the G7 committing to fossil fuel phase out this century, positive engagement by China and the US and continued renewables growth globally. Scotland can have a great story to tell this year, too, but its world leading climate ambition has to be matched by leading the world on action, across every sector of the economy.

Gina Hanrahan is Climate & Energy Policy Officer at WWF Scotland