Dear Cabinet Secretary,
In response to the consultation on a new Climate Change Bill for Scotland, please be much bolder: then Scotland can deliver its share of the UN Paris Agreement aims, but also demonstrate that early converters will economically and socially win in the end.
The quickest possible conversion to a low-carbon or no-carbon economy is best seen within the socio-economical context:
1) Climate Change is the greatest war ever fought by mankind, make no mistake. The "war" effort must be greater than any effort ever in the history of mankind. I cannot recognise this reality in the Climate Change Bill. (details further on)
2) Air quality will improve rapidly with transport changes (increased & low carbon public transport, electric private transport).
3) Social cohesion will improve as side-effect (nothing like public transport to get people talking).
4) Technology development will take a prime seat, when the young generation realises they see options the older folks don't, and can make them work. This is the economy of the future, starting now.
5) Scotland's independence options will be immediately enhanced when energy independence (not just electricity) occurs. That could also accelerate North Sea decommissioning, while the UK can still afford that.
6) From a global perspective, considering future generations, it is the only right thing to do. Scotland has a particularly easy place to take the lead from, globally.
7) The results will be positive, as history has consistently proven - let's just get off the starting-block!
The SNP manifesto committed to “bring forward a new Climate Change Bill to implement the Paris Climate Change Agreement” and Nicola Sturgeon has stated “we are committed to acting on climate change and limiting global temperature increases to below 1.5ºC” and “countries can’t just stand back and wait – we all have to deliver.”
By contrast, the proposed targets are disturbingly moderate. The proposed 2020 target is the equivalent of the current 2020 goal, and the proposed 2030 figure barely increases on targets agreed by the Scottish Parliament last year.
This is neither an adequate response to the Paris Agreement, nor in line with the First Minister's promises.
For a path consistent with the Paris Agreement - a good chance of staying below 2ºC and some chance of staying below 1.5ºC - we need targets like the following:
>> 2030 - GHG emissions reduction of 77% on 1990 levels.
>> 2040 - ZERO GHG emissions
The "Zero emissions by 2050", which seemed challenging some years back, is no longer enough: climate science advances, and the prognosis is worsening rapidly. Scotland has proven it can deliver challenging emissions targets early - we underestimate our abilities. An appropriate response would be to increase the challenge!
The consultation appears to fail to take on emissions in key sectors like transport, housing and agriculture, all of which have shown little reduction since 1990. Yet these areas are precisely where technological growth and environmental benefit can be maximised!
Please consider the following policies in the Bill:
1) Transport: phase out the sale of new fossil fuel cars by 2030. This also reduces emissions and air pollution and improves the nation’s health.
2) Housing: Ensure all homes and buildings have at least an EPC of ‘C’ by 2025. (Heating ~ 50% of our emissions). This would reduce GHG emissions, tackle fuel poverty and create jobs across Scotland.
3) Agriculture: set a nitrogen budget for Scotland by 2020. Farming is responsible for around a quarter of emissions, much from the manufacture and use of nitrogen-based fertilisers. There are alternatives.
4) Maximise benefits for Scotland associated with these much increased targets, for example with a "Just Transition Commission" which includes union, community and environmental representatives to advise the government on the transition from high-carbon industries and jobs to a low-carbon economy.
5) Coordinate finance budgets with climate targets, and not the other way around. A war-budget is built around a war-effort, and it is a war of truly epic proportions we have on our hands.
Please treat this as a response to the Climate Change Bill consultation.
I'm responding on behalf of an organisation: Aberdeen Climate Action CIC
My response and my name can be published
I am responding from Scotland
I am willing to be contacted by the Scottish Government in relation to this consultation
Erik is a physicist, ocean sailor, petroleum engineer, climate change student, and public speaker and writer.