Six Ministers called to Parliament to account for ‘not credible’ climate change plan

And this unprecedented move starts today, 27th February 2013.

Six Scottish Government Ministers have been called to Parliament to explain their plans to reduce Scotland’s emissions – plans which the diverse Stop Climate Chaos coalition has branded ‘not credible’.

They are, with their appearance dates:

  • Keith Brown MSP (27/02/13)
  • Margaret Burgess MSP (27/02/13)
  • Paul Wheelhouse MSP (27/02/13)
  • Derek MacKay MSP (27/02/13)
  • Richard Lochhead MSP (28/02/13)
  • Fergus Ewing MSP (06/03/13).

Four Parliamentary Committees are currently scrutinising the draft Low Carbon Scotland: Report on Proposals and Policies 2013-2027 .

This document could be the blueprint for how Government will ensure that its legally binding targets to reduce emissions, as set out in the Scottish Climate Change Act of 2009, can be met.  It is particularly important given that the first emissions target set under that Act was missed and with emissions from housing and transport higher now than they were in 1990.

The Committees have already heard from a range of stakeholders, most of whom have expressed concern about the credibility of the government plan.

Professor Pete Smith, a renowned climate scientist from Aberdeen University and one of the authors of the global Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, dismissed some of the Government’s proposals for reducing emissions as ‘wishful thinking’. He expressed this in his evidence to the Rural Affair and Climate Change Committee.

Tom Ballantine, Chair of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland says: ‘Today we will hear Government Ministers explain how this plan can achieve our climate targets.  We will be particularly keen to hear how Transport Minister, Keith Brown MSP, hopes to reduce emissions from transport without a single Scottish policy to reduce emissions from this sector within the plan.

‘Given that transport accounts for a quarter of Scotland’s emissions, and emissions from this sector are higher now than they were 20 years ago, this needs to be addressed.  The plan must be revised to include firm transport policies, including those to reduce the amount of traffic on our roads.

‘This plan is incredibly important.  It sets out Government’s ambitions for the kind of Scotland we’ll be living in in 15 years time.  The plan is a critical test of the Government’s commitment to and credibility on the environmental agenda and will decide if Scotland continues as a world leader on climate change.

‘The Parliament came together in 2009 to unanimously vote through the Scottish Climate Change Act.  We look forward to the Parliamentary Committees again working together to recommend that Ministers up their game over the coming weeks and come forward with a revised plan of which we can all be proud.’

To be fair to Transport Minister Keith Brown, it cannot be said, as Tom Ballantyne is doing, that there is not ‘a single Scottish policy to reduce emissions from the [transport] sector within the plan’.

The commissioning of the two radical hybrid RORO passenger and vehicle ferries for CMAL, leased to CalMac – one already in service between Skye and Raasay; the second to enter service in Loch Fyne this summer – is certainly a policy action aimed at reducing carbon emissions. The crude bunker fuel traditionally burned by ships is hugely polluting and the diesel/electric powered new ferries will certainly make ther controbution to the reduction of emissions.

On the other hand , the expected pilot project for the A9, allowing higher speeds for HGVs in an attempt to reduce traffic congestion on that major commercial road, is hardly going to do other than put back the emissions saved by the hybrid ferries.


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