Climate Change

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 3:39 pm on 28th May 2008.

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Photo of Alex Johnstone Alex Johnstone Conservative 3:39 pm, 28th May 2008

Indeed, we should show leadership, but it is important that we have a level playing field. For that reason, we must be responsible in setting targets.

I am willing to go down the route that others have taken in saying that, in considering the bill, we should consider how we can effectively set annual targets. Those targets should be achievable yet flexible in the Scottish context given the fact that weather changes can significantly change domestic energy consumption.

I would like the minister to clarify how he proposes to measure Scotland's output of climate change gases, as I do not think that that was clarified when he appeared before the Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee. On that day, he appeared to say that he wanted to judge that output against what we produce in Scotland, but there are many who believe that the figure should relate to what we consume in Scotland.

As I have said many times before, I have concerns about the effects of our targets and ambitions on our economy. I worry that, if an industry in Scotland finds itself closed down as a result of economic pressures that have been placed on it in order to cut climate change emissions, that industry will simply be exported to China and we will have the problems of the climate change emissions associated with transporting products back to Scotland. If that happens, we will have exported not only our emissions, but a part of our economy with them.

The Conservatives support the principles behind the climate change bill and will engage seriously and conscientiously with the process that we are about to go into. However, we will not see Scotland's businesses disadvantaged when a little serious thinking might result in our being able to reap the benefits of the world's first genuinely green economy.