CLIMATE TARGETS: HARVIE URGES LESSONS FROM GERMANY AS 4TH FAILURE EXPECTED
Ahead of Tuesday's (9 June) expected announcement that Scotland has missed its 4th annual climate change target in a row, Patrick Harvie, Scottish Green MSP for Glasgow, is urging Scottish ministers to learn lessons from Germany.
Emulating Germany's pursuit of community-owned renewable energy would help generate revenue to invest in the greener transport, sustainable land use and other priorities Scotland needs for a low carbon economy.
Scottish Green MSPs point out that even if the Scottish Government meets its targets on renewable energy, only three per cent will be community or locally owned in stark contrast with Germany which is already at 65 per cent.
Scottish ministers recently announced the award of £21m for community ownership of energy projects but that only "up to £500,000" would be available in 2015/16.
G7 leaders meet in Germany this weekend to discuss the need to invest in renewable energy technology to speed up the phase out of fossil fuels. Scotland has already seen significant growth in renewables, but with profits largely going to private companies and landowners, the opportunity to invest revenue in the wider climate change agenda is lost.
Patrick Harvie MSP, a member of Holyrood's economy and energy committee, said:
"Scotland clearly aspires to be a greener and fairer country, and with our natural advantage in renewable energy we should harness the profits from this growing sector to fund the transition to a jobs-rich low-carbon economy. Since the Scottish Parliament agreed to set challenging climate change targets there has been a failure of the current Scottish Government to pursue policies that will get our emissions down.
"An area the Scottish Greens have consistently pushed in parliament has been community and public ownership of energy assets. If Scottish ministers are serious about getting our climate ambitions back on track they would do well to emulate Germany's Energiewende programme of switching to renewables and reducing demand through widespread local ownership.
"Giving communities and public bodies control over energy not only creates jobs and cuts energy bills but provides revenue to invest in greener transport, sustainable land use, cutting waste, and other priorities to finally turn good intentions into real action on climate change. The Scottish Government needs to be bolder on community energy and should seek to increase not cut its investment, otherwise we can only conclude it does not understand the urgent need for a transformational policy agenda."
Last year's data showed that Scotland's greenhouse gas emissions rose by 400,000 tonnes between 2011 and 2012 when the target was for a 178,000 tonne drop. By comparison, the next target, due to be announced in parliament on Tuesday, requires a drop of almost 8 million tonnes.
"In Scotland, if all targets are achieved, 3% of renewable energy will be community or locally owned. This is in comparison to Germany, where over 65% of the turbines and solar panels are owned by individuals, farmers and communities" (Spice briefing)
Scottish Government announcement that £21m for community ownership of energy projects set to fall to "up to £500,000" in 2015/16
The Apollo programme aims to double the money being spent globally on research and development of renewable energy, energy storage and smart grids. The plan has been discussed by G7 energy ministers and is on the agenda for the G7 heads of state meeting in Germany on 7 June (Guardian)