Ruskell says evasive answers by Climate Change Secretary on low carbon infrastructure ring alarm bells

Mark Ruskell MSP, Environment spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, said today's (19 Dec) "evasive answers" by Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham to basic questions about low carbon infrastructure should ring alarm bells that the government intends to slow down action on climate change.

At today's meeting of Holyrood's Environment Committee, Mr Ruskell asked the Climate Change Secretary whether the drop in investment by her government in sustainable projects such as rail upgrades and warm homes will make it harder to meet new Climate Change targets.

Roseanna Cunningham answered that this was not a discussion that she would be involved in, and she admitted that she has not looked at the government's investment plan, suggesting that it would be a matter for the Economy Secretary rather than her.

And when challenged over the failure to increase investment in tackling fuel poverty, which reduces climate change emissions, Ms Cunningham responded that this is a policy she has no control over.

Mark Ruskell MSP said:

"These evasive answers ring serious alarm bells. If the Cabinet Secretary with responsibility for climate change isn’t involved in decision making on the government's investment plans then how on earth will we meet our climate obligations? 

"We've seen low-carbon infrastructure investment fall from 50 per cent in 2015 to around 26 per cent this year, and all the expert advice is that you need to hit 70 per cent to meet the Paris Agreement on limiting climate change. This does not instil confidence ahead of the new Climate Change Bill we expect in the new year, which already indicates the low level of the government's ambition by proposing a 90 per cent reduction in emissions by 2050 rather than maintaining the current rate of action and aiming for a 100 per cent reduction by 2040. 

"Scotland's economy and environment will benefit if we prioritise low-carbon investment, and the Scottish Government must raise its game."