SNP and Tories have wasted chances to turn Scotland and UK into green superpowers – Ian Murray

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It’s been 12 years since Alex Salmond said he wanted Scotland to become the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy.

Twelve wasted years. Renewables should be at the heart of the political debate and there’s a real opportunity for Scotland to lead the world in this technology. But as another Earth Day passes, Scotland’s failure to meaningfully commit to renewable energy must sadly be highlighted once again.

Now in tandem with its Scottish Green coalition colleagues, the SNP has presided over such a woefully inadequate net-zero strategy that even charities such as Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund are calling it out. Transport is the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions, yet emissions have barely fallen in over a generation in Scotland.

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The SNP has utterly failed to deliver on its pledge for more green jobs, unless you count giving Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater jobs in government to attack business, pursue division and ignore the climate emergency.

They promised thousands of new green jobs but have only generated jobs in other countries as they’ve handed contracts overseas. What a shadow of the party once led by the redoubtable and much-loved Robin Harper.

We need to urgently jumpstart a green jobs revolution in Scotland, which is why Labour is committed to creating 50,000 clean-power jobs here. And while the Scottish Government prevaricates over a push for net zero, I’m glad that my Labour colleagues on the city council have been making progress. Their goal is the same as the UK Labour green revolution target: net zero by 2030.

Last month, the council gave the first grants from its Community Climate Fund to organisations operating within Edinburgh South, including the Bruntsfield Area Net Zero Action Initiative and Rhize Mushrooms. They are using creative and original ideas to tackle the climate crisis and educate young people about sustainability.

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Our local communities are leading the fight against climate change, and I just wish we could see their passion and commitment in the corridors of power. Last month’s ‘Green Day’ was supposed to mark a sea change in the Conservatives party’s commitment to improving energy security across the UK, greening the finance system, and making its net-zero strategy lawful. However after a thorough assessment, it’s only notable for its glaring omissions.

The future is bright for those who grasp the opportunities of the green industrial revolution (Picture: Christian Charisius/pool/AFP via Getty Images)The future is bright for those who grasp the opportunities of the green industrial revolution (Picture: Christian Charisius/pool/AFP via Getty Images)
The future is bright for those who grasp the opportunities of the green industrial revolution (Picture: Christian Charisius/pool/AFP via Getty Images)

There was no removal of the effective ban on onshore wind, no new investment for energy efficiency which could cut bills and imports, and no response to the US Inflation Reduction Act which could help Britain win the global race for clean energy.

This Conservative government is failing to tackle the climate emergency, leaving our communities vulnerable and squandering the huge benefits which could be realised by the transition to a low-carbon economy. Labour will not only put net-zero at the heart of our plans for a fairer Scotland and a fairer UK, but our Green Prosperity Plan will invest £28 billion per year in tackling climate change, growing the green economy, cutting energy bills permanently and creating good, green secure local jobs here.

We would do that with a publicly owned GB Energy Company that would be mandated to quadruple offshore wind, triple onshore wind, double solar and back new technologies to make the UK a green superpower.

Our planet doesn’t have time to wait.

Ian Murray is Labour MP for Edinburgh South

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