SNP ministers have been warned their legal 2030 climate target is “increasingly moving out of view” as the Government’s statutory advisors delivered their most scathing assessment in history on Holyrood’s progress in cutting emissions.

MSPs have committed to cut 1990 levels of harmful climate emissions by 75 per cent in just eight years’ time – but have missed seven out of 11 of their annual targets.

The latest statistics for 2020 only achieved the target due to the pandemic, with SNP ministers predicting levels to bounce back.

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The Climate Change Committee (CCC), which advises bot the Scottish and UK governments, has called for immediate action to be brought forward by SNP and Greens ministers if the 2030 legal target is to remain on track.

In its progress report, the CCC, highlighted a lack of progress in several sectors needed to cut pollution if targets are to be achieved.

The document said: “The trend of failure will continue without urgent and strong action to deliver emissions reductions, starting now.

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The Scottish Government urgently needs to provide a quantified plan for how its policies will combine to achieve the emissions reduction required to meet the challenging 2030 target.

“The plan must detail how each of Scotland’s ambitious milestones will be achieved.”

And while Scotland has the “laudable aim” of reducing the number of kilometres travelled by car by 20% on 2019 levels by 2030, the report described this as “challenging” adding current plans “lack a full strategy with sufficient levers to deter car use”.

On energy efficiency in homes, meanwhile, the report said that there was a “lack of regulations and incentives in place to drive improvements to energy efficiency”.

The report added that while “Scotland has ambitions to decarbonise buildings much faster than the UK as a whole” there were “not yet adequate policies in place to deliver low-carbon heat and energy efficiency improvements at the required rate”.

Chris Stark, the chief executive of the CCC, told the Herald he is “raising the red flag” on the 2030 target – while he also highlighted a lack of progress in cutting transport emissions and scolded ministers for “magical thinking” over plans to cut agriculture pollution”.

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He also took aim at Greens zero carbon buildings minister, Patrick Harvie, for having “just not made a dent in the big challenge of decarbonising heating in housing”.

Speaking to The Herald, Mr Stark warned his organisation has published “the most damning report we have produced on the Scottish Government”.

He added: “This is deliberately designed to be a very damning report.

“We are just not seeing the scale of response that we need.”

Asked whether the 2030 legal target can still be achieved, Mr Stark insisted “it is increasingly moving out of view”.

He has warned that the lack of progress “actually risks rendering the targets meaningless”.

Mr Stark said: “Most of the targets have been missed so you start to question whether it has any real integrity.”

The CCC has warned that there has been “minimal progress” in cutting agricultural emissions over the last decade, “yet the Scottish Government plans to reduce emissions by nearly 30% in the next decade”.

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The report adds: “Detail on low-carbon agriculture policy following exit from the EU Common Agricultural Policy is needed urgently.”

Mr Stark said he was “really concerned” about a lack of progress in cleaning up farming.

He added: “The Scottish Government has produced itself a pathway where agriculture emissions reduce but without any policies to back that up.

“So there seems to be an element of magical thinking involved.

“That has to change or we will not be anywhere close to achieving what is needed. There has maybe been a reluctance to have difficult conversations with farmers.”

Conservative net zero spokesperson, Liam Kerr, said the report shows the Scottish Government is “falling miles short in taking the action required to tackle the climate emergency”.

SNP net zero secretary Michael Matheson has acknowledged “truly transformational action across our society and economy” will be required.

He said: “Progress has been made – Scotland is already more than half way to net zero – but we are now entering the most challenging part of the journey to date, with a need to halve our emissions again within the next eight years.

“Significant steps have been taken in recent years to put in place the policy frameworks that will drive action and change on the ground. The action we are taking now will deliver significant emissions reductions in years to come.”

Mr Matheson added: “We know that Scotland’s targets are among the most stretching in the world, but it is right to be continually ambitious on an issue that will affect our future generations.

“We are actively considering the CCC’s advice alongside work we have already started to prepare a new, detailed climate change plan covering the period to 2040.”