I HAD the misfortune to attend a session of parliament last week where a debate took place on the economy, energy and tourism committee report on the achievability of the Scottish Government’s renewable energy targets.
As before, when I previously attended a debate on renewable energy – an SNP flagship policy – the public gallery was almost full, the MSP seats were almost all vacant. At its peak there were 28 MSPs, but this steadily reduced as members, including Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon left. First Minister Alex Salmond was absent on both occasions. The outcome of the debate on this occasion was that the targets are achievable, but there are a number of caveats. Roderick Campbell cited Germany’s impressive momentum in relation to its generation of 25 per cent of supply through renewables. He failed to mention it was having to build new plant burning lignite (high carbon) to back-up the renewables – so much for green credentials.
Meanwhile, Jim Eadie presented with considerable pride a horrific picture of the future industrialisation of Scotland. To build the turbines, particularly offshore, requires almost unimaginable amounts of steel and concrete – two of the most carbon polluting industries in the world. Construction of turbines requires rare earth metals – 95 per cent of these come from China.
The extraction process is unbelievably polluting – involving toxic chemicals, acids, sulphates and ammonia. Scotland is polluting the world but, as with Friends of the Earth and GreenPeace, we are blinkered and parochial.
Dr Bruce Hobbs