Roseanna Cunningham: Scotland has adopted world-leading statutory targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions and is also working to ensure no-one is left behind as it moves towards carbon neutrality. Yesterday I welcomed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to Edinburgh, where they are holding a major scientific meeting this week. We must all act on the clear, global, scientific consensus that they have provided. The warning contained in their Special Report, published last October, was stark: the world needs to be carbon neutral by 2050 to prevent warming of more than 1.5 degrees. In May last year, we introduced our ambitious new Climate Change Bill as a direct response to the Paris Agreement. Our Bill sets the most ambitious statutory targets of any country in the world for 2020, 2030 and 2040 – plus every year in between – and will mean Scotland achieves a 90 per cent net reduction of all greenhouse gases, regarded as carbon neutrality, by 2050. This week, the Bill is taking the next step to becoming law. Yesterday, I provided my initial response to the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee’s report on the Bill. I was pleased that the cross-party committee agrees with the Scottish Government that greater action across the public and private sector is now needed, and that the Bill maintains Scotland’s place “among those at the forefront of global ambition on climate change”. Today, the Bill will be debated in parliament. The ambition of the targets will undoubtedly, and quite rightly, be the centre of the debate. It is based on expert advice from the UK Committee on Climate Change, an independent statutory body tasked with advising us on targets. The CCC is comprised of experts in climate science, economics, behavioural science and business. In their last set of advice, they stated that the targets we have proposed are at “the very limit of feasibility”. We have asked the CCC to look at this again, in light of the IPCC’s Special Report. The advice will be presented to us in exactly one month’s time – on 2 May. If the Committee advises that it is now credible for Scotland to set a date for us to become net-zero – a 100 per cent reduction – then that is exactly what we will do. It is worth noting that the reach and pace of Scotland’s ambition is dependent on a number of the policy levers which remain reserved to Westminster. Decarbonisation of heat, for example, depends on UK Government decisions on the future of the gas network. I want to be crystal clear on one more point: no-one can be left behind in our journey towards carbon neutrality. We know that Scotland can reap economic benefit from the new markets and investment opportunities that it creates. Our low-carbon and renewable-energy sector already supports around 46,000 jobs and generates an annual turnover of over £11 billion. That is why we established the Just Transition Commission to advise on how we continue the transition in a way that promotes inclusive growth, cohesion and equality. Of course, Scotland cannot tackle the global issue of climate change alone. But we can play, and are playing, a leading role in the international call for action, using an open exchange of information and sharing of best practice to mobilise global action and increased ambition.
Scotsman 2nd April 2019 read more »
PROPOSALS for a new law to bring in tougher climate change targets in Scotland to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement will be debated at Holyrood later amid mounting calls for more urgent action. The Climate Change Bill would update laws to increase the greenhouse gas reduction target from the current 80% to 90% by 2050, as well as introduce an interim target of 56% for 2020 – up from the current 42% – and 66% for 2030. Environmental activists and the Scottish Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform (ECCLR) Committee have both warned that more urgent action is needed. Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) is holding a protest outside Holyrood today ahead of the debate, calling for far greater urgency in Scottish ambition, including a significant increase in action over the next decade. “The Scottish Government is failing to tackle climate change with the necessary urgency,” said SCCS chairman Tom Ballantine. The Bill going through Parliament currently commits to almost no increase in action between now and 2030.
The National 2nd April 2019 read more »
SCOTTISH Labour has been accused of hypocrisy for promoting the giant firms making millions from fossil fuel at Holyrood while demanding tougher action on climate change. MSPs will today vote on the principles of a Bill putting new carbon reduction targets into law. Labour last night said it wanted to “embolden” the legislation, by setting a target of zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, instead of the 90 per cent cut proposed by the SNP. However, it also emerged yesterday that a Labour MSP will be promoting the North Sea oil industry in an exhibition next to the Parliament’s debating chamber this week. Lewis Macdonald, a list MSP for North East Scotland, has sponsored a large display and information stall for Oil & Gas UK, the trade body representing the offshore industry. MSPs will walk past it on their way to vote for climate change targets. The Scottish Greens said Labour was two-faced and could not be trusted on the issue. Friends of the Earth Scotland said it was “sadly symptomatic” of MSPs talking tough on climate change while backing the fuels that cause it. The environmental campaign also said it was disappointing that it couldn’t organise a lobbying event inside Holyrood about the Bill, but the industry was allowed in. “This risks reinforcing the misconceptions of some MSPs that oil and gas is somehow nothing to do with climate change,” it said. Scottish Green MSP Mark Ruskell said: “Last week, Scottish Labour voted down our proposition to declare a climate emergency. This week, as parliament debates the climate change bill, they’ve invited the oil and gas industry to lobby MSPs right outside the chamber. “It’s clear that on climate policy, like many other issues, Labour is at war with itself and can’t be trusted.” Dr Richard Dixon, FoE Scotland Director, said: “This is sadly symptomatic of the many MSPs who apparently see no contradiction between supporting the expansion of oil and gas extraction and action on climate change. The extraction and burning of fossil fuels is the key driver of climate change. “SNP, Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrats all refused to condemn the industry-led policy of ‘Maximising Economic Recovery’ of North Sea oil and gas in last week’s Climate Emergency debate, which means maximising the damage to our climate. “We must cut our use of oil and gas – we need to stop going after new sources and plan an orderly but rapid transition to a green economy.”
Herald 2nd April 2019 read more »
75% of Scotland’s Electricity Now Green; All Cars Electric by 2032. People who talk about our finding future solutions to the climate emergency are just out of date. The solutions exist, it is just a matter of implementing them, of political will. Scotland added another 6% of green energy in 2018, so that nearly 75% of its annual gross electricity consumption came from renewables, chiefly wind, solar and hydro. Scotland’s population is 5.4 million. The increase in green energy came mainly from new offshore wind. New offshore wind also allowed the UK to get 33% of its electricity from renewables in 2018. Although the UK is far behind Scotland in the green energy transition, it is nearly 12 times more populous, at 66 million, and so for it to get fully a third of its electricity from green sources is in real numbers a much bigger deal. British carbon emissions fell 3% last year. Scotland and the UK have further big plans for new floating offshore wind turbines, a technology pioneered off the coast of Scotland by Shell.
Common Dreams 31st March 2019 read more »