Environment

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 4:01 pm on 21st February 2007.

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Photo of Alex Johnstone Alex Johnstone Conservative 4:01 pm, 21st February 2007

No, thank you.

The SNP has brought this subject to us again. We want to hear more about what it would do to ensure that we do not require nuclear energy—if that is what it believes. At the moment, the SNP is more determined to talk about this, and is not prepared to address its primary priorities. We must address the issue of how we deal with the difference between what we can generate through the dependence on intermittent sources of power and what we cannot. That means that we need to look at our energy requirements in the context of a great deal of diversity, to which the Labour Party amendment refers, but also to account for how we will address the gap.

Clean coal technology is an option that we should pursue. The Conservative party is happy to make a long-term commitment to the idea that clean coal technology has a future. We also believe that carbon capture techniques are important and should be promoted. However, it is interesting that the Peterhead proposal is being raised yet again in this debate. I worry that the proposal to produce hydrogen at a plant in Peterhead uses technology that is a generation away. Even if we can produce hydrogen on a commercial scale, it is too valuable to burn to generate electricity once again. It must be part of a developed hydrogen economy that, at the moment, we are not in a position to support. We must consider the longer-term aims and objectives in that regard.

It is important that we consider Scotland's energy needs. We must take the issue seriously and take a balanced and broad approach. It is disgraceful that the SNP has sought to score political points by simply attacking the nuclear industry in Scotland once again.

I move amendment S2M-5607.1, to leave out from "welcomes" to end and insert:

"notes the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that human beings are, with a 90% probability, responsible for accelerating climate change and believes that this report simply reinforces the need for urgent action; therefore welcomes the Conservatives' commitment to a climate change Bill to introduce annual targets and their call for carbon capture and storage to be put on an equal footing with other low-carbon energy sources; believes that we need a broad-based strategy of energy production for future energy provision in Scotland, and further welcomes the Scottish Conservatives' proposal for a Scottish eco-bonus scheme to incentivise households, communities and small businesses to install modern energy-creating and energy-saving technologies that will have the triple benefit of cutting their energy bills, reducing CO2 emissions and giving a boost to new small-scale renewable technologies."