Climate Change

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 3:51 pm on 28th May 2008.

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Photo of Rob Gibson Rob Gibson Scottish National Party 3:51 pm, 28th May 2008

In the current state of play of the climate change debate, there is a whole section of the debate on which we need to take the public with us. There is a huge paradox in people's behaviour, in that although they show great interest in all the means by which we might adapt and reduce our CO 2 emissions, they are reluctant—as was pointed out in this month's energy section of The Press and Journal —to stump up and pay for them. Indeed, one speaker at a recent conference pointed out that, because the alternative is easier, people are reluctant to pay a little more for measures inside the home that would reduce CO 2 emissions.

The point is that, arguably, there must be a better means of getting people onside. People show willingness—as I am sure others will mention—but the evidence also suggests that too many people are not prepared to take part. Indeed, anticipating the members' business debate that will follow decision time, one might say that that can be seen most in the issue of reducing the fuel consumption of cars and lorries. We need to begin to bring the two sides together and to deal with that paradox if we are to make progress in securing support in the country for the kinds of big changes that we seek.

In an exercise to work out what our use of energy resources would be like if we achieved the previous target of reducing emissions by 60 per cent by 2050, Scottish Renewables suggested that we would use a third less energy and electricity in 2050 than we did in 2002. We need to ensure that people understand the scenarios that would allow such targets to be met, because meeting them will change people's lives, including how they move about and how they heat their houses.

Although some members might claim that annual targets need to be statutory, I do not think that any evidence allows us easily to pin down the figures that would enable us to set those targets. As the Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee has heard, gathering statistics takes much longer than a year, so we need to get up to speed and ensure that it is possible for us to have the most up-to-date information.