Due to changes made to the official Scottish Parliament website at the start of 2011, our parser that used to fetch their web pages and convert them into more structured information has stopped working. We’re afraid we cannot give a timescale as to when we will be able to cover the Scottish Parliament again. Sorry for any inconvenience caused.
Patrick Harvie (Green)
Sometimes in the chamber, I come across a wee bit more confrontational than I mean to. Although I sometimes have a lot of fun while I am doing that, it is not always helpful. In the debate on this agenda, there are individuals from across the political spectrum whose ideas I can agree with. The only problem is that those ideas are too often mixed up with a lot of the stuff that I disagree with. Again, that applies right across the spectrum.
I will start with some things that I agree with. Rob Gibson clearly set out the SNP's anti-nuclear stance. He talked about the tremendous opportunity cost. We all recognise the potential benefits of renewables if we can get the investment, but the capital investment that is required is huge, and should be the priority. Even if nuclear energy did not have all the other associated problems—those problems still exist—it would be at the bottom of a long list of priorities for investment.
Liam McArthur mentioned a few policies that I support. The UK Government's idea of a green investment bank is good. It is small, but it is a good idea—but allied with the dramatic attacks on public spending that will come from the UK Government, I am not sure who will be in a position to, as his amendment says,
"build a low-carbon economy",
or to build very much else at all.
I turn to Iain Smith. Now I might get a wee bit more confrontational again—sorry. He seemed to want my amendment to be even longer and to include more things. Maybe it should have done but, when I first wrote it, it would have filled half the page, so something had to give. I hope I made it clear in my earlier speech that the point that I am driving at is that a low-carbon economy topic, debate, strategy or plan must be about the whole economy and not just a list of energy policies.
Iain Smith said that he is positive that, in the comprehensive spending review, we will get the decision that we want on the fossil fuel levy. I hope so, because there will not be much else to look forward to in the comprehensive spending review. I am not sure whether Iain Smith and Liam McArthur currently identify themselves as being on the pro-capitalist or anti-capitalist wing of their party but, either way, what is coming down the line from the UK Government is an extremely right-wing agenda of which we should be very cautious.
Throughout the debate we have heard comments such as that about the need
"to maximise the wealth-creating opportunities"
from renewables, as though that should be the overriding objective in energy policy. I cannot
One of the familiar energy clichés is about keeping the lights on. Can we keep the lights on just with renewables? Do we need nuclear to keep the lights on? Part of the problem is that we keep far too many of them on for far too much of the time, even when we are not using them. Jim Tolson, who is down at the front, is right to point to the lights in the chamber—I beg your pardon, it is Jim Hume.