SNP criticised over climate change investment
A LONG-AWAITED report from the Scottish government outlining ambitious targets to combat climate-change was attacked as “appalling and weak” by environmentalists yesterday.
• Green Party described one per cent figure as ‘shocking’ given that SNP missed first target of climate change act
• Just £411m of £28bn budget earmarked for cutting carbon emissions - 1.4 per cent of total figure
• Spokeswoman said ‘it is not for Government alone to take action on climate change’
The second draft Report on Proposals and Policies (RPP) listed a range of actions, including measures to reduce the impact of transport through increasing use of low carbon vehicles.
First Minister Alex Salmond also revealed a key new target of reducing emissions from electricity production to 50g of carbon dioxide per kilowatt hour by 2030 – in line with independent advice from the UK committee on climate change.
However the government admitted that its plans for the next 14 years were not backed by any extra funding, fuelling criticism from environmentalists that the SNP was not supporting its own ambitions with adequate resources.
Although Scotland was more than halfway towards meeting the overall 2020 target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 42 per cent by 2010, the government came under fire when it emerged that it still failed the first annual target set in the Climate Change Act which was passed in 2010.
Publishing the report yesterday minister for environment and climate change Paul Wheelhouse said: “Our concerted action to tackle greenhouse gas emissions has seen Scotland achieve greater reductions in emissions than not only the UK, but other nations recognised for their high ambition, such as Germany and Denmark.
“Our commitment to tackling climate change and maintaining our position as a global leader is clear and underlined by the actions we have set out today. We are taking strong action on renewables, zero waste, peatlands and tackling fuel poverty with ambitious new plans to decarbonise production of electricity and heat.”
But Patrick Harvie, MSP for Glasgow and co-convener of the Scottish Green Party, said the SNP “needs to start putting its money where its mouth is”.
He added: “By failing to say what they’ll do now to get back on track they are dumping the problem at the door of the next generation.
“Ministers continue to pin hopes on unpopular ideas like electric vehicles and unproven technology like carbon capture... It is appalling that the defining issue of our age is treated with such contempt.”
The Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) coalition of environmental charities said the plan was not strong enough to meet the goals of the Climate Change Act.
Chairman Tom Ballantine said: “It is extremely worrying to see the lack of ambition demonstrated by the Scottish Government when it comes to reducing our climate emissions. We have the strongest climate laws in the world and the government has gone to great efforts to highlight this example globally.
“Sadly, missing the first climate target last year does not appear to have been the wake-up call needed for ministers to put fresh impetus into their climate action plans. This new plan does little to reassure us that early action will be taken to meet future targets, putting Scotland’s credibility at risk.”
Colin Howden, director of Transform Scotland, accused ministers of “shirking” their responsibilities by failing to turn earlier measures into firm policies to cut emissions. He said: “The plans for transport are even worse than the previous plan.”
The government’s proposed budget for 2013-14 of £28 billion includes £411 million for measures to cut carbon emissions, equating to around 1.4 per cent of the total.
The SNP, which blamed its failure to meet the 2010 annual target on the extremely cold winter that year, stressed that government investment wasn’t the only way to meet targets and everyone had a part to play.
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
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