The Scottish government has made tackling climate change the centrepiece of its 2019-2020 programme for government, the Financial Times and others report. Plans include promoting low-carbon aircraft, trains and buses, as well as district heating schemes, the paper says. The Scottish government’s support for the North Sea oil and gas industry is to become conditional on support for a transition to sustainable energy, first minister Nicola Sturgeon said, according to the FT. The Scotsman reports that she nevertheless “refuse[d] to commit to ending North Sea oil production”. The Scottish Sun reports on the plans, focusing on a £500m fund to create bus lanes to help encourage motorists off the road. BusinessGreen also covers the story. Meanwhile, the Times reports on the UK oil and gas industry’s plan to cut its emissions, launched today. It says North Sea oil and gas platforms could draw power from offshore windfarms to cut their direct emissions and adds: “[Trade body Oil & Gas UK] insisted it was not accountable for the far greater emissions generated by customers actually using the fossil fuels it produces.” BusinessGreen also covers the industry plan, while the Scotsman reports how activists staged a “die in” at the opening of a major oil and gas conference in Aberdeen. The Guardian reports that the UK is facing “growing outrage” from the European Commission and some EU member states over its plans to leave some decommissioned North Sea oil and gas infrastructure in place rather than removing it altogether. Separately, BusinessGreen looks ahead to today’s UK government spending review, asking “how green is [it] likely to be?”. It quotes various commentators suggesting the review of spending over the next 12 months may have more of an economic focus, although one speculates pledges could include efforts to improve the efficiency of homes.
Carbon Brief 4th Sept 2019 read more »
Environmental campaigners have welcomed a range of commitments in today’s Programme for Government but emphasised that is does not go nearly far enough to truly tackle the climate crisis. Friends of the Earth Scotland Director, Dr Richard Dixon, said: “This package includes some very welcome commitments but is not nearly enough to address the desperate climate emergency the world is facing. The obvious contradiction at the heart of this Programme is its commitment to some new measures in transport, heating and agriculture while continuing to back the offshore oil and gas industry to keep on drilling and destroying our climate. “The Climate Emergency should signal a radical change of direction, especially when it comes to planning the end of oil and gas extraction from the North Sea. Instead we heard of an increased focus on Carbon Capture and Storage and hydrogen, both dangerous distractions, which risk prolonging that industry and taking the focus away from real, sustainable solutions to the climate crisis. There are welcome new targets on electrifying our railways, banning gas heating in new buildings and making flights carbon free, but it doesn’t go nearly far enough to reduce polluting car traffic or seriously phase out fossil fuels.” Welcome measures in the Programme for Government. Fossil fuel central heating ban for new buildings from 2024; Review of banning fossil fuel cars in city centres by 2030; More investment in cleaner buses, and a commitment to raise bus usage; Trials of electric aircraft in 2021 and all internal flights to be electric by 2040; Decarbonising all our railways by 2035; Commitment to create a Circular Economy Bill. Unwelcome measures in the Programme for Government; Continued support for extracting every last drop of oil in the North Sea; Support for Carbon Capture and Storage, which will prolong the life of the oil industry; Plan to waste the Scottish National Investment Bank’s time and money on Carbon Capture and Storage; Pursuing a programme to develop hydrogen technologies, which will continue use of fossil fuels; Being distracted by bioenergy, which has serious land use implications; In general, lots of headline long term commitments but an overall failure to deliver radical emissions cuts in the short term.
FoE Scotland 3rd Sept 2019 read more »
The commitments to district heating in the programme for government do not go far enough to ensure all Scots have warm homes, the Scottish Greens have said. In her plans for the year, Nicola Sturgeon announced a Heat Networks Bill and a consultation on new buildings regulations. Responding, Scottish Greens environment and energy spokesperson Mark Ruskell said: “£30m for innovative low carbon heating projects is a flash in the pan, not the kind of transformational change Scotland needs, and which I called for this summer. “Heating our buildings accounts for half of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, a quarter of all homes in Scotland are in fuel poverty. “The Scottish Government should be committing to massive expansion of low carbon heat networks and dramatically reduce emissions from heating by retrofitting inefficient homes and bringing forward regulations on new buildings now. “The Scottish Green New Deal, which we launched last week, proposes more ambition on this including a programme of deep retrofits and the requirement all new homes meet passivhaus or other net-zero standards. The climate emergency requires an emergency response, not tinkering round the edges.”
Scottish Green Party 3rd Sept 2019 read more »
The Programme for government announced by the First Minister this afternoon is severely lacking in ambition when it comes to tackling rising transport emissions according to the Scottish Greens Transport Spokesperson John Finnie MSP. John Finnie MSP said: “It’s extremely disappointing that the Scottish Government has failed to address the decline in bus usage by expanding its concessionary travel scheme. The Scottish Greens advocate fully free bus services, but failing to even take a step in this direction and introduce free transport for under 26’s is pitiful. On air travel the First Minister’s targets are pie in the sky. Obviously the prospect of the Highlands and Islands becoming a zero emission aviation region is welcome, but the technology to introduce such flights doesn’t currently exist. Crowing about doubling an active travel budget a year ago, when the government has missed its walking and cycling targets by miles is embarrassing.
Scottish Green Party 3rd Sept 2019 read more »