Cathy calls for more ambition on Climate Change

The Scottish Parliament has rejected proposals for action on Climate Change because they “lack ambition” and “corners were being cut on the road to 2020”

“The Scottish Government has lapped up the international praise for the Scottish Climate Change Bill, but is showing less enthusiasm for bringing forward meaningful action”, said Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie, who is the Labour parliamentary spokesperson on Climate Change, and Deputy Convener of the Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee.

The proposal, to set carbon reduction targets of 0.05% this year, 0.5% in 2011, and 1.0% in 2012, was opposed by Labour, Liberal and Green MSPs, and rejected by 64 votes to 62.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament during the debate, Cathy said that the 2010 target was so low that it has been rounded down to zero – “not the one significant figure stated in a footnote; rather, one very insignificant figure … based on previous inaction.”

Cathy welcomed the commitments being made for 2011/2, which included action on peatland restoration, but said that the target still lacked ambition. The 2013 target reflects anticipated action by the EU, and had not changed despite the additional action proposed for the previous two years. Thereafter, the promised 3% figure would not actually be reached until 2018.

“That means that anything that is offered is purely a temporary gain, with no long-term gains expected as a result of the earlier action. Surely if the peat provisions are significant and carry through, that should have been reflected in bigger CO2 reductions from 2013?

“I appreciate that the minister is concerned about missing deadlines, but it is more important to get this right and to send out the right message about our commitment and the commitment that we want others to make. Rejecting the SSI will not prevent the Government from pressing ahead with any plans it has to address climate change. Allowing it to pass will, however, make it look as if we are prepared to settle for what is in it, and that we are not stretching ourselves sufficiently.

“We should reach 3 per cent long before 2018. As we have already missed opportunities to press ahead, we are not going to reach 3 per cent in the next few years, but surely if we shift up a gear now, we can do better than the order proposes.”

Cathy called on the minister to work with other parties to achieve a consensus on action that could be taken.

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