sarah-boyack-msp-scottish-labour-leadership-campaign-launch-in-edinburgh-november-7-2014Sarah Boyack, Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Spokesperson for Environmental Justice, says despite more action being needed to tackle climate change, the SNP is cutting the amount it spends and pursuing policies which create more emissions instead.

 

Today concerns have been raised yet again over the Scottish Government’s plans to cut the amount of money it spends on tackling climate change.

Gathering evidence in Edinburgh, the BBC reported that the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) – an independent statutory body which advises the Scottish and UK Governments – said it would examine the reasons behind the cut.

Their latest report also highlights that greater action is needed to reduce carbon emissions and that more progress is required in areas such as transport, renewable heat, agriculture and forestry and the waste sector; something which Scottish Labour has been saying for some considerable time.

The warning from the CCC comes on top of comments made by the WWF in the Herald newspaper only last week, that the Scottish Government’s planned cut undermines its claim that it has embedded climate change in the draft budget.

The reality is that the Scottish Government could be doing far more to create a sustainable low carbon economy for the future. As it stands, only 50% of Scotland’s infrastructure pipeline could be described as low carbon. Yesterday it was revealed that public transport use is going into reverse – 6% down from 2006 and 12% for bus use. You can read the story here: Public transport use in Scotland falls.

What’s more, while the Scottish Government may have announced Energy Efficiency as a National Infrastructure Project they have yet to set an overall objective for the project, and have cut investment to tackle fuel poverty in this year’s budget by £15m.

The decision by world leaders to sign up to a low carbon future at the Paris climate talks in December provides a real opportunity to step up the speed of change. The Scottish Government must build on the summit and strengthen its commitment to tackling climate change.

Scottish Labour has proposed a Warm Homes Act to deliver regulatory change to allow Scots to make the most of the renewables potential presented by community heat networks while also tackling fuel poverty which blights communities.

In addition to this new commitment, unlike the Scottish Government we would not scrap Air Passenger Duty, a tax change which would allow up to 60,000 tonnes of CO2 to be emitted into the earth’s atmosphere and would primarily benefit the well off.

Scotland should be at the forefront of the transition to a low carbon society and environmental justice. It’s time for action not excuses from the Scottish Government.