Greens reject apathetic Holyrood climate consensus

For immediate release 23 September 2010

Today's Holyrood debate on a Low Carbon Economy showed two clear divides between the various parties, Greens argued. First, Labour backed a Conservative amendment supporting new nuclear power, a move which would be costly, dangerous, unsustainable and unpopular, but this amendment was rejected. Second, MSPs rejected a Green amendment which set out several basic policy changes essential if we are to move to a low carbon economy.

Patrick Harvie MSP said:

"Today's votes are an excellent guide to the various parties' attitudes to energy, climate change and the economy. Labour are now joined at the hip to the Conservatives' pro-nuclear dead end, while the Lib Dems now face both ways yet again. In London Lib Dem Ministers will now force nuclear power through, but at Holyrood they remain set against. Fortunately most Scots will see their unprincipled role in office for what it is.

"Nuclear power is dead in the water in Scotland, and the public are dead set against it too. The more worrying outcome today was the decision by every other party to reject our proposals to move towards a comprehensively low carbon economy. They voted for more road capacity and yet more growth in aviation, for new coal and against additional investment in renewables, and they failed to back our call for investment in local low carbon economies.

"Holyrood has a consensus on the science - most Tories don't even claim climate change isn't real anymore. The other parties have also agreed on inaction and drift. They seem to think that we should talk about the issue but not act, and Greens will continue reject that apathetic consensus. Scotland deserves better."

The amendment in Patrick Harvie's name reads as follows:
A Low Carbon Economy for Scotland—As an amendment to motion (S3M-7047) in the name of Stewart Stevenson, leave out from “acknowledges” to end and insert “regrets that the cross-party support for the long-term targets in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 has not been followed by consensus on the urgent and radical policy changes that are needed to bring about a low-carbon economy; believes that the Scottish Government should reconsider its support for increased road capacity, growing the aviation industry and building new coal-fired power stations, given the detrimental impact on Scotland’s climate change emissions; regrets the lost economic opportunities from the Scottish Government’s failure to heed calls for a rapid increase in investment in energy efficiency; calls on the Scottish Government to introduce more substantial support for the marine renewables industry, and believes that a sustainable economic vision should not leave Scotland dependent on the whims of the international money markets, which have failed the country repeatedly in the past, but instead should focus on building resilient low-carbon local economies.