Tuesday, 26 May 2009

SCCS disappointment as SNP and Labour join to frustrate climate change progress

26 May 2009


Hopes that Scotland's Climate Change Bill would lead the world were put at risk during today's Stage 2 discussions of the Climate Change Bill by the Scottish Parliament Transport Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee.

The TICC Committee failed to support an amendment to increase the target for cutting greenhouse gases by 42 per cent by 2020. This target would have brought the Bill in line with the scientific consensus of what action needs to be taken and set a strong example for other world governments.

The SNP made a clear manifesto commitment to deliver at least 3 per cent emissions reductions every year which would deliver around a 42 per cent reduction by 2020. However they now propose a target of 34 per cent rising to 42 per cent only if other nations make specified commitments at UN climate meetings in Copenhagen in December, suggesting a reluctance to lead internationally and no more ambitious than the target set by the UK Government.

Mike Robinson, Chair of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, said:

"There has been good progress on a number of areas but on the crucial issue of taking early action to cut Scotland's greenhouse gas emissions the Bill is looking desperately unambitious.

"The LibDems and the Greens provided good amendments to toughen up the 2020 target and deliver strong year-on-year reductions from the start. Other parties have not risen to the challenge unfortunately.

"The SNP have failed to deliver on their manifesto promise of 3 per cent cuts every year and on the First Minister's claim that the Scottish Bill would be more ambitious in every way than the UK Climate Change Act. In the end, the SNP have proposed a 2020 emissions target which is no more ambitious than the UK Act, even though they have already told the Climate Committee that they can do more.

"The position of Labour is the biggest disappointment. They have talked eloquently about the need for rapid action in the early years, but when they had the chance they failed to put in any credible proposals of their own or support those proposed by others. You have to question whether Labour is serious about having a tough Climate Change Act.

"They have one last opportunity in three weeks to make good on their rhetoric".

Currently this Bill does not live up to the demands of the 20,000 individual people who responded to the Government consultation, the expectations of the 1.5 million Scottish people represented by our coalition and the urgent need felt by millions around the world.

Notes to editors:
[1] Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) is a diverse, growing coalition of organisations campaigning on climate change. The SCCS Coalition has 60 Scottish members, representing more than 2 million supporters, ranging from environment and development groups to faith organisations, trade unions, student societies, care providers and many more. For full details visit www.stopclimatechaos.org/scotland
[2] In December world leaders will gather in Copenhagen to agree a new international climate deal that will come into force when the first phase of the Kyoto treaty expires in 2012.
[3] SCCS will be helping organise a Climate Change march in Glasgow on 5th December.

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