Six years to save Scotland – I don’t think so - Ian Murray

Nicola Sturgeon delivers a keynote speech at Strathclyde University on the green revolution in 2021Nicola Sturgeon delivers a keynote speech at Strathclyde University on the green revolution in 2021
Nicola Sturgeon delivers a keynote speech at Strathclyde University on the green revolution in 2021
There are only six years left before Scotland should be hitting the SNP’s target of reducing emissions by 75 per cent.

This ambitious goal was set in law, with former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon repeatedly using it as a political tool to drive a wedge between Scotland and England.

What is clear now is that the much-vaunted pledge is not going to be met. Under the SNP, Scotland missed its annual target in 2021 – for the eighth time in 12 years.

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A recent Climate Change Committee report was stark: “There is no comprehensive strategy for Scotland to decarbonise towards net zero”.

What an utter failure of the SNP government, which has been so obsessed with its campaign for independence that it has failed to tackle the most pressing emergency – climate change.

Now the nationalists will have to water down Scotland’s emission reductions target – requiring a change to the law. This is a devastating indictment on this failed administration.

The UK’s reduction target of 68 per cent by 2030 is already one of the most ambitious goals in the world, but the SNP – as always – wanted to concoct a grievance with Westminster and repeatedly criticised this as not going far enough. Humiliatingly, it now appears that Scotland’s target may have to fall below that of the UK as a whole so it can be met.

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All those speeches and gesture politics from the SNP have not tackled the climate emergency.

The reality is that the nationalists dropped their plans for a publicly-owned energy company, catastrophically failed to meet targets to deliver 130,000 green jobs by 2020, missed retrofitting targets and left two thirds of houses to fall below recommended energy efficiency standards, sold Scotland’s wind off on the cheap and failed to hit targets on tree planting, peatland restoration, recycling improvements and biodiversity.

And now they even oppose Labour’s windfall tax on the fossil fuel giants.

For the SNP nationalism always trumps environmentalism. But as for their coalition partners, the Scottish Greens, this proves that the party is simply no longer worthy of the name.

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They are more interested in stirring up constitutional division and enjoying their taxpayer-funded private chartered boats than tackling the climate emergency.

It’s no wonder that Robin Harper, their inspirational former leader, felt he had to leave the party and will now vote Labour. “I am a builder, not a destroyer,” he said.

I am proud that Robin is one of my constituents who cares so passionately about the environment, as so many people in Edinburgh do.

And for those voters who want a real plan to tackle climate change, there is now only one party truly committed to this.

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There is no time to waste – we need to reach net zero, deliver a jobs-first transition, and build a greener Scotland.

Labour has a realistic plan, funded by a windfall tax on oil and gas giants, to lower bills, deliver more jobs and increase energy security.

We can create 50,000 clean power jobs in Scotland, upgrade hundreds of thousands of homes to make them energy efficient, deliver a zero carbon electricity network by 2030, and headquarter GB Energy – a publicly owned energy company for the UK – right here in Scotland.

We need a change in government to give climate change it the attention it deserves.

Ian Murray MP is Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland

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