Thu 27 May, 2010

For immediate release 27 May 2010

At 5pm tonight the Green MSPs will vote against the Scottish Government's revised annual climate change targets under the Climate Change (Scotland) 2009 Act. The Act requires these targets to be set by Monday 1 June, just four days away - see the Act, Part 1, section 4 (2) (a) - and Ministers' initial proposals were rejected nine days ago by the Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee.

Those original proposals would have seen a target for no change at all this year, followed by just 0.5% reductions for 2011 and 2012. Ministers have come back with an increase of 0.5% in 2012, taking that year's target to 1.0%. Scottish Ministers will also make this small improvement not through new action to tackle climate change, but simply by accounting differently for existing peatland restoration plans.

These targets also go against a clear pledge made by the SNP in their 2007 Holyrood manifesto, which promised "mandatory carbon reduction targets of 3% per annum".

Patrick Harvie MSP said:

"The Scottish Government has now definitively failed the climate test, and at 5pm it will therefore be up to Parliament to sort out Ministers' mess. It is intensely disappointing for Holyrood to find itself in this position. Many at home and abroad were impressed last year by Scotland's Climate Change Act and the promise it held out that strong clear emissions targets would be set.

"This is a difficult position for us to find ourselves in. The Act is important for the environmental movement more widely, and we never wanted to have to vote against the first ever annual emissions targets set under it. However, there will be an enormous price to pay if Parliament accepts a flatline target this year and little better for the years after. Members would be accepting a vacuum where there should be a vision, and giving this SNP administration licence to carry on with their failed business-as-usual policies. In this context, a vote rejecting the SNP proposals at 5pm would be a direct instruction from Parliament to Ministers to go back and return with something more meaningful."

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