Leader: SNP's climate change fight too focused on wind power

Pledging to raise the bar in the fight against climate change is a bold move by the SNP, in the wake of four consecutive years of missing the existing target.

The new climate change target is admirable but it may turn out to be a rod for the Scottish Governments own back. Picture: John Devlin

The Scottish Government was praised internationally when it announced its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 42 per cent by 2020, but interim targets have not been met. Last year’s missed target brought a bullish official response: we’re still on course for 2020. The evidence was not compelling.

Against that record, upping the stakes to cut carbon emissions by more than 50 per cent in the same timescale is ambitious.

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Much of the progress on this front has been achieved through renewable energy in the shape of wind turbines. Recent figures have been encouraging, and in January this year, wind power provided almost half of Scotland’s entire energy needs. There were 22 days when the amount of electricity generated from wind was sufficient to power every home in the country.

Those statistics look impressive, but harnessing wind power remains a controversial strategy. Two clear problems have yet to be resolved: what to do when the wind doesn’t blow, and how to store wind power adequately to help plug such gaps.

Wind power alone will not solve the world’s climate change problem, but it can contribute significantly. If energy can be re-used, that clearly makes sense as a policy to pursue.

In the meantime, the trick is how to achieve base load requirement, and keep the lights on. Coal power ended with the closure of Longannet this year, and the SNP does not favour nuclear power. So when the wind doesn’t blow, where does our energy come from? We can buy it from abroad, but what if that energy is non-renewable, or nuclear? In the bigger picture, that is no progress at all.

The new climate change target is admirable but it may turn out to be a rod for the Scottish Government’s own back. The SNP, if re-elected, could find that rejecting nuclear power at this stage makes achieving its main ambition an impossible target.

Cinemas should help us resist the temptation to gorge on fattening snacks

The complaint that snacks available in cinemas are unhealthy and expensive is an observation many will agree with. A trip to see a movie for a family of four, with snacks, doesn’t leave much change out of £50. Most of us would acknowledge that our purchased snacks are unhealthy as well. But do we care?

An SNP MP has called on cinemas to offer healthier options to customers. However, one of the major chains says this has been trialled, and customers were not interested.

That is no excuse for not offering any healthier option. Demand might be low, but changing attitudes in the fight against obesity is not going to happen overnight. Cinemas can play their part in helping us to help ourselves.