Climate Change

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 3:19 pm on 28th May 2008.

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Photo of Stewart Stevenson Stewart Stevenson Scottish National Party 3:19 pm, 28th May 2008

The member will know that we are supporting the UK Government's efforts to have aviation and, indeed, maritime transport included in emissions trading across Europe. During my visit to Brussels yesterday, I raised that specific issue with the directors general of environment and of energy and transport. The Government is on the case.

Emerging technologies will be pivotal in helping us to move forward. We have seen wave energy take a step forward in Orkney and we are leading the way in the world with the £10 million saltire prize to stimulate innovation in marine energy.

We have tripled funding for community and microgeneration and we are making £15 million available for sustainable travel communities over the next three years. To ensure that the public sector is setting a programme of continuous improvement, we recently announced the launch of a high-level group to provide leadership to the wider public sector on environmental performance.

Adaptation is an equally important part of the agenda. Urgent action is required to reduce Scotland's vulnerability to the impacts that are already seen in our changing climate. Over the next 30 to 40 years, there will be unavoidable impacts determined by past and present emissions. We need to take action now.

We have consulted on the future of flood risk management in Scotland with a view to introducing a draft bill this year. We are jointly sponsoring the marine climate change impacts partnership, which is playing a vital role in helping us to understand what we need to do to tackle the problem of climate change in the marine environment.

To help and encourage businesses and organisations, including local authorities, in the development of their own adaptation response, the Scottish Government has had a significant role in the establishment of the Scottish climate change impacts partnership.

Transport Scotland has identified a range of actions that it will implement to improve the resilience of the Scottish trunk road network to any long-term changes in climatic conditions. Several actions have already been progressed, including changes to drainage design parameters, construction contractual terms and trunk road inspection procedures.

We are also working closely with other UK Administrations to ensure the sharing of best practice and cross-border co-operation, particularly in areas such as research. That will include our involvement in the national risk assessment to be required under the UK Climate Change Bill.

Building on that activity, we will shortly consult on Scotland's climate change adaptation framework, which will identify strategic principles and priority actions as a means of providing leadership, guidance and consistency of approach to Government and non-Government decision makers.

Ultimately, addressing the urgent social, economic and environmental challenge of climate change will be successful only if every one of us accepts responsibility and acts sustainably. The Scottish Government is confident that government, business and all the people of Scotland are ready to rise to that challenge. We intend to work with them to achieve the goals that we have set for ourselves.