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7 October 2010

S3M-7154 Climate Change (Annual Targets) (Scotland) Order 2010 [Opening Speech]

Scottish Parliament

Thursday 7 October 2010

[The Presiding Officer opened the meeting at 09:15]
... ... ...
Climate Change (Annual Targets) (Scotland) Order 2010

The Presiding Officer (Alex Fergusson):
The next item of business is a debate on motion S3M-7154, in the name of Bruce Crawford, on the Climate Change (Annual Targets) (Scotland) Order 2010.

Motion moved,

That the Parliament agrees that the Climate Change (Annual Targets) (Scotland) Order 2010 be approved.—[Bruce Crawford.]

16:40

The Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change (Stewart Stevenson):

Members will likely be aware that the Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee voted on Tuesday for the new annual targets order. The committee's consideration of the order followed the deliberations of the working group that I established to consider the issues around the setting of the annual targets. The contributions from members of the working group were constructive and I thank everyone who participated. I believe that the forum could be a model for the facilitation of certain kinds of policy development.

The targets contained in the draft instrument are much more stretching than the targets in the previous order and require all of our current climate change policies to be delivered in full. The new draft annual targets order proposes targets for the years 2010 to 2012 that are approximately 2 megatonnes CO2 equivalent lower each year than those in the previous version of the order. Over the period 2010 to 2022, the proposed new annual targets cumulatively would save 14 megatonnes of CO2 equivalent.

The new targets follow advice from the United Kingdom Committee on Climate Change on the shape of the trajectory. The committee's original advice has been supplemented by further analysis outlining a potentially larger impact of the recession on Scottish emissions, which justifies setting more stretching targets than the committee's original analysis suggested.

The challenges that we face are considerable, not least because of the tight fiscal situation in which we find ourselves, and will become clearer in the coming months. Everyone in Scotland will need to play their part in helping to ensure that Scotland takes a lead in developing a low-carbon economy. A vital part of a low-carbon economy will be the efficient use of resources. The Scottish Government's energy efficiency action plan, published yesterday, sets out a clear plan of action to deliver energy-demand reduction and resource-efficiency measures throughout the domestic, business and public sectors in Scotland. The plan includes a headline target to reduce total energy consumption by 12 per cent by 2020. Local councils are to be given £10 million in grants to offer free insulation measures and provide energy saving advice to up to 100,000 households.

Together with existing commitments, including the target to generate 80 per cent of Scottish electricity consumption levels from renewable energy within the next decade, the energy efficiency target will be key to delivering Scotland's world-leading carbon reduction target of a 42 per cent cut in CO2 by 2020.

By improving household energy efficiency, Scots could save an estimated £2 billion by 2020 from smaller energy bills, while investment in energy efficiency over that period could directly support around 10,000 jobs in Scotland.

Jeremy Purvis (Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale) (LD): Will the member take an intervention?

Stewart Stevenson:
I am so short of time that I cannot.

I highlight the Scottish Government's Scottish green bus fund. It has been slightly oversubscribed and we are still waiting for one company to bring forward proposals—we have agreed to accept them late—but it is definitely successful. Launched in July this year, the fund has been developed to incentivise the purchase of low-carbon vehicles by funding up to 100 per cent of the price difference between an LCV and its diesel equivalent. We expect it to deliver more than 50 low-carbon vehicles. We are pleased with the mix of bids, which have been submitted by large and small bus operators in Scotland.

It is vital that we now focus on delivery. The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 requires that we set out a report on proposals and policies for achieving the annual targets after the targets are set. We have committed to publishing a draft report on proposals and policies for parliamentary consideration in November. Work on that is being aligned with preparatory work on the draft budget, which is due after the UK Government concludes its comprehensive spending review.

The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, passed unanimously by the Scottish Parliament, has rightly been the subject of widespread praise in Scotland and internationally for the level of ambition it sets out. It is important that we remain united behind Scotland's climate change ambition. Scotland is the only country that can say, year by year through very stretching annual targets, how we will drive emissions down to our 2020 target of a 42 per cent cut.

I am pleased to support the motion moved by my colleague.

16:45

Stewart Stevenson
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