Scotland is on course to exceed its 2020 climate change targets after a 49% drop in greenhouse gas emissions.

Pollution fell by 49% between 1990 and 2017, according to the latest Scottish Government statistics, with carbon dioxide emissions down 50%.

Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “We must go further and faster if we are to meet our responsibilities to our children, grandchildren, and future generations.

“Our ambitious Climate Change Bill will ensure we do exactly that – by setting a new 90% reduction target for 2050 and paving the way towards achieving net-zero emissions as soon as possible.”

Environmentalists calls for date for ‘net zero emissions target’

Tom Ballantine, Chair of the Stop Climate Chaos Scotland coalition of charities and campaign organisations, said: “2016 reflects the first full year since the closure of Longannet power station, showing the big impact you can have by phasing out dirty coal and switching to clean renewables.”

Ballantine added: “Back in 2009, when Scotland’s first Climate Act was passed, there was no clear path to meeting the 42% emissions reduction target and many were sceptical it could be achieved.

“Today’s results show that setting stretching targets works by driving innovation and strong policy delivery.

“This success, along with support from the public, leading scientists and farming groups, should give the Scottish Government the confidence to aim high once again and set a net zero emissions target, by 2050 at the latest, in the new Climate Change Bill.”

> See the Scottish Government statistics