Executive Action on Climate Change: "Pitiful"

Greens called for a halt to decisions that will increase carbon emissions such as the M74 extension and the Aberdeen Bypass until the consultation is completed.

Scotland lags behind the rest of the UK on reducing climate emissions (Scotland’s 5.6% compared to England’s 18% reduction since 1990, with a UK target of 60% reduction by 2050) and Greens claim that current Executive policies are set to increase climate emissions.

Aviation, military and the off-shore industry are not included in the most recent statistics and emissions for transport remain high – and set to get 128,000 tonnes of carbon per year worse with the construction of the M74 extension alone. (1)

Mark Ruskell MSP, Green Speaker on the Environment said: “At long last the Executive will be officially open to scrutiny on its pitiful record on climate change. As the Executive appears bent on a massive programme of producing more pollution, I hope this review will iron out the contradictions at the heart of the Executive’s current programme. The linguistic and mental gymnastics of the Executive in trying to look good on climate change would be funny if it wasn’t so serious.

“At least there is some admission that more can be done but this is shaping up to be a huge embarrassment for Jack McConnell when the G8 leaders meet to discuss climate change next year. Scotland needs a climate change target and the political will to achieve it if we are to catch up with the rest of the UK in reducing our emissions. Together with the parliamentary inquiry into climate change in the new year, which Greens campaigned hard to achieve, hopefully this review will put Scotland on a more sustainable path to address this global challenge.”

Chris Ballance MSP, Speaker on Transport, who has introduced a bill to the Scottish Parliament to force Ministers to set meaningful targets for reducing traffic levels which are a major source of climate pollution, said: “Scotland’s traffic levels are going up and we’re building more motorways to accommodate this growth. We still spend more on big road projects than we do on trains and buses. The Executive sounds like it’s trying it’s best – but clearly that is not good enough.”

A Scottish parliament committee inquiry is due to get underway in January following a proposal made by Mark Ruskell MSP as Vice-Convener of the Environment and Rural Development Committee.

Notes to editors

(1) Greenhouse Gas Inventories for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland: 1990-2002 disaggregates the UK Greenhouse Gas Inventory, 1990-2002 compiled by the National Environmental Technology Centre (NETCEN) for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Disaggregated inventories, produced by NETCEN for Defra and the devolved administrations, have been produced for the years 1990, 1995, and annually since 1998. The latest inventory can be accessed at www.naei.org.uk/reports.php

(2) Environment Minister Ross Finnie is set to announce the consultation tomorrow at 10.30am.

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