Section 5 — Advice before setting annual targets

Climate Change (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 – in the Scottish Parliament at 10:15 am on 24th June 2009.

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Photo of Alasdair Morgan Alasdair Morgan Scottish National Party 10:15 am, 24th June 2009

Group 5 is on the role of the relevant body in relation to annual targets. Amendment 19, in the name of the minister, is grouped with amendments 20, 20A, 20AA, 21, 106, 29 and 30.

Photo of Stewart Stevenson Stewart Stevenson Scottish National Party 10:30 am, 24th June 2009

Amendments 19 to 21 and 29 are necessary as a consequence of the amendments that require annual targets to be set at amounts that are consistent with achieving the interim and 2050 targets. That is necessary as a result of changes that were made at stage 2—and, perhaps, at stage 3—to section 3(2).

Amendments 19 to 21 amend section 5 to require that the Scottish ministers ask the relevant body for appropriate advice in that respect and publish it after they receive it.

Amendment 29 has a similar effect, in that it places a corresponding duty on the advisory body to provide that advice, as opposed to the duty on the Scottish ministers to ask for it.

On amendment 30, at stage 2, Des McNulty inserted paragraph (ba) into section 22(3) of the bill. The effect of the new paragraph is to require the advisory body, when providing advice under section 22(1)(a), to express its view about the respective contributions towards meeting the annual targets that should be made by energy efficiency, energy generation, land use and transport.

At stage 2, I indicated that I was broadly content with the proposal, and that remains the case. There is, however, a risk that paragraphs (a), (b) and (ba) of section 22(3) could be read as limiting the total extent of the areas about which the advisory body can give advice. Clearly, that is not meant to be the case, so amendment 30 seeks to insert a paragraph after paragraph (ba) that makes it clear that the advisory body has the freedom to express its views on any area in which it considers that there are particular opportunities to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.

The Scottish ministers are comfortable with the first three paragraphs that amendment 20A, in the name of Patrick Harvie, proposes, as they simply cover the same subject matter areas as section 22, which sets out the things on which the advisory body must express a view. However, we have a difficulty with the last three proposed paragraphs. Two of them would in effect require ministers to seek advice from the relevant body on an emissions performance standard for electricity generating stations in Scotland that could be different from any equivalent standard in England and Wales.

As I explained to the Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee at stage 2, the Government has not ruled out the introduction of an emissions performance standard for new electricity generating stations. However, that would need to be done in line with the UK approach to the development of carbon capture and storage technology. The UK Government is currently consulting on a CCS levy, which could be used to fund the substantial investment that will be necessary from the public sector. That levy will require new UK legislation, but spending it will be a devolved process. The Scottish Parliament will have its opportunity to give its consent to that in the autumn, when there will be an opportunity to discuss the matter in detail.

I intend to say more on this subject when we debate amendment 54 in group 15 but, for the reasons that I have outlined, the two paragraphs on electricity generation in amendment 20A are unnecessary, given the on-going work on the emissions performance standard.

The language that is used in the paragraph about cumulative emissions budgets is inconsistent with the language that is used about cumulative emissions elsewhere in the bill, and we should exercise caution in that regard.

Amendment 20A is also flawed in that it places a duty on Scottish ministers to ask the relevant body for advice on cumulative emissions but places no equivalent duty on the body to provide that advice.

As I stated at the outset, we have no difficulty with the first three proposed paragraphs of amendment 20A. Accordingly, I have lodged amendment 20AA, which will allow those paragraphs into the bill while excluding the ones that create difficulties. If members are willing to agree amendment 20AA, ministers will be happy to support amendment 20A. If not, we cannot do so.

Amendment 106, in the name of Patrick Harvie, imports the definition of trading schemes from section 44 of the UK Climate Change Act 2008 and applies it as a definition of the traded sector in amendment 20A. Similar provision is already included in section 22(5) of the bill, and it also appears in the equivalent advice provisions in the UK act. Therefore, the Government is content to accept amendment 106.

I move amendment 19.

Photo of Patrick Harvie Patrick Harvie Green

I am grateful that the minister accepts amendment 106, but I was rather hoping that he would accept the rest of amendment 20A. Amendment 20A has multiple purposes—it tries to achieve three things. First, it deals with an issue of the language in provisions that originate from the Government and from a Labour amendment at stage 2, and which relate to advice on the respective contributions from energy efficiency, energy generation, land use and transport. There is a risk that those provisions would not come into play until a Scottish advisory body was established. The Stop Climate Chaos Coalition has argued that that part of amendment 20A is necessary to avoid a loophole, so I am glad that the minister accepts it.

The minister argues that the language in the final paragraph in amendment 20A, which is on cumulative emissions, is different from that in the rest of the bill. I welcome amendment 104, in the name of Alison McInnes, which has been agreed to and which uses the same language. The amendment in my name talks about stabilising

"greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system."

I argue that that is complementary language and that that paragraph of amendment 20A is compatible with amendments that have already been agreed to.

On electricity generation and emissions performance, there is probably broad agreement that an emissions performance standard is required. I welcome the fact that work is happening on that at UK level. However, we should be able to contemplate agreeing to amendment 20A ahead of that work progressing. It certainly cannot be argued that the amendment is not competent or not within devolved powers, as it would simply mean that the Government would seek advice on

"the average greenhouse gas emissions per megawatt hour of electricity generated in Scotland that would be compatible with" the targets that the Parliament will agree to in passing the bill.

Stewart Stevenson emphasised carbon capture and storage, but that should be put into context. The Government has a great reliance on and trust in the idea that carbon capture and storage will be developed and will be technically achievable and commercially viable. I hope that the Government is right about that, but I do not know that it is. The risk exists that new coal-fired power stations will be up and running before carbon capture and storage is operational, or in the absence of carbon capture and storage. In that context, I argue that that aspect of amendment 20A is desirable, as it would help to ensure that the Government focused its mind on the emissions per megawatt hour of electricity that is generated in Scotland. I ask members to support amendment 20A, but to resist amendment 20AA.

Photo of Alasdair Morgan Alasdair Morgan Scottish National Party

I call the minister to wind up. Does the minister wish to wind up? It is not compulsory.

Photo of Stewart Stevenson Stewart Stevenson Scottish National Party

The minister was so enthralled by the debate that he was continuing to listen, in the expectation that Mr Harvie had more to say.

Everything has been said. I encourage members to support amendment 19 and, when we come to it, amendment 20AA.

Amendment 19 agreed to.

Amendment 20 moved—[Stewart Stevenson].

Amendment 20A moved—[Patrick Harvie].

Amendment 20AA moved—[Stewart Stevenson].

Photo of Alasdair Morgan Alasdair Morgan Scottish National Party

The question is, that amendment 20AA be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members:

No.

Division number 7

For: Adam, Brian, Aitken, Bill, Alexander, Ms Wendy, Allan, Alasdair, Baillie, Jackie, Baker, Claire, Baker, Richard, Boyack, Sarah, Brocklebank, Ted, Brown, Gavin, Brown, Keith, Brownlee, Derek, Butler, Bill, Campbell, Aileen, Carlaw, Jackson, Chisholm, Malcolm, Coffey, Willie, Constance, Angela, Craigie, Cathie, Crawford, Bruce, Cunningham, Roseanna, Curran, Margaret, Don, Nigel, Doris, Bob, Eadie, Helen, Ewing, Fergus, Fabiani, Linda, Ferguson, Patricia, FitzPatrick, Joe, Foulkes, George, Fraser, Murdo, Gibson, Kenneth, Gibson, Rob, Gillon, Karen, Glen, Marlyn, Goldie, Annabel, Gordon, Charlie, Grahame, Christine, Grant, Rhoda, Gray, Iain, Harvie, Christopher, Henry, Hugh, Hepburn, Jamie, Hyslop, Fiona, Ingram, Adam, Johnstone, Alex, Kelly, James, Kerr, Andy, Kidd, Bill, Lamont, Johann, Lamont, John, Livingstone, Marilyn, Lochhead, Richard, MacAskill, Kenny, Macdonald, Lewis, Macintosh, Ken, Martin, Paul, Marwick, Tricia, Mather, Jim, Matheson, Michael, Maxwell, Stewart, McAveety, Mr Frank, McConnell, Jack, McGrigor, Jamie, McKee, Ian, McKelvie, Christina, McLaughlin, Anne, McLetchie, David, McMahon, Michael, McMillan, Stuart, McNeil, Duncan, McNeill, Pauline, McNulty, Des, Milne, Nanette, Mitchell, Margaret, Mulligan, Mary, Neil, Alex, Oldfather, Irene, Park, John, Paterson, Gil, Peacock, Peter, Peattie, Cathy, Robison, Shona, Salmond, Alex, Scanlon, Mary, Scott, John, Simpson, Dr Richard, Smith, Elaine, Smith, Elizabeth, Somerville, Shirley-Anne, Stevenson, Stewart, Stewart, David, Swinney, John, Thompson, Dave, Watt, Maureen, Welsh, Andrew, White, Sandra, Whitefield, Karen, Whitton, David, Wilson, Bill, Wilson, John
Against: Brown, Robert, Finnie, Ross, Harper, Robin, Harvie, Patrick, Hume, Jim, McArthur, Liam, McInnes, Alison, Munro, John Farquhar, O'Donnell, Hugh, Pringle, Mike, Purvis, Jeremy, Rumbles, Mike, Scott, Tavish, Smith, Iain, Smith, Margaret, Stephen, Nicol, Stone, Jamie, Tolson, Jim

Photo of Alasdair Morgan Alasdair Morgan Scottish National Party

The result of the division is: For 101, Against 18, Abstentions 0.

Amendment 20AA agreed to.

Amendment 20A, as amended, agreed to.

Amendment 20, as amended, agreed to.

Amendment 21 moved—[Stewart Stevenson]—and agreed to.

Amendment 105 not moved.

Amendment 106 moved—[Patrick Harvie]—and agreed to.