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15 July 2009

Scotland Sets The Bar For UK On Climate Change

Scotland has set the standard in developing proposals and policies for a low carbon economy, Climate Change Minister Stewart Stevenson said today.

The UK Government White Paper ‘The UK Low Carbon Transition Plan’, published today, sets out measures to meet its carbon budgets for 2008-2022. These replicate in many cases action already taken in Scotland.

Mr Stevenson pledged to work in partnership with the rest of the UK to deliver the most ambitious and comprehensive climate change targets anywhere in the world.

He said:

“Climate Change is the greatest challenge we face and we are pleased to be working with the UK Government to influence the global response.

“We welcome Westminister’s decision to investigate higher regulatory standards for energy efficiency in housing following our lead in reducing costs to homeowners and cutting emissions.

“UK Government support for the European Marine Energy Centre and its work on wave and tidal power will help us to deliver the objectives set out in our own Renewable Action Plan.”

The White Paper confirms the aim to generate half of the UK’s electricity needs from low carbon sources by 2025. Measures include producing around 30 per cent of electricity from renewables by 2020, a substantial increase in the requirement for electricity suppliers to sell renewable electricity and steps to facilitate the construction of new nuclear power stations. The Scottish Government is committed to generating 50% of electricity from renewables by 2020 and fully decarbonise electricity by 2030. The Scottish Government is already set to surpass its target of 31% of electricity from renewables by 2011.

Last month, the Scottish Government’s Climate Change Bill was setting a target of reducing Scotland's greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 with an interim target of 42% by 2020 was passed by Parliament. Today, the UK Government states its plan will deliver emission cuts of 18 per cent on 2008 levels by 2020 as well as sharing the 2050 target.

Mr Stevenson said:

“Just yesterday, a report commissioned by environmental groups vindicated the Scottish Government’s position to back investment in green, renewable energy sources to become Europe’s green energy powerhouse showing that Scotland could generate all of its renewable energy needs from renewables by 2020 and become a net exporter of renewable energy. Scotland does not need or want expensive and dangerous new nuclear power stations.

“We will continue to work with the UK Government on grid network development in the UK and Europe to manage more electricity from more varied sources.

"Scotland has a quarter of Europe's entire tidal resource and wind energy potential – including massive offshore as well as onshore wind power capabilities. Our natural wealth and decades of energy expertise bring huge economic and employment opportunities for Scotland. We have already announced plans to take advantage of those opportunities that will create 16,000 green energy jobs over the next decade as well as our plans for a £10 million Saltire Prize that has attracted interest from across the globe.”

NOTE

The Climate Change Act (2008) stipulates that the report must be prepared in consultation with the Devolved Administrations insofar as it relates to devolved policies.

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