It’s time to put funding behind words
It’s been pointed out endlessly, not the least by the Scottish Government, that we have a world leading climate law in Scotland. The targets in the act are good and necessary, but what we need now is action, and funding in place, to be able to reach those targets.
As part of the Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) coalition, we are putting pressure on the government to live up to the intentions in the climate act, and start budgeting accordingly. SCCS have submitted evidence to the Finance Committee, highlighting transport and homes
as two main areas where funding in the coming budget will make a huge difference. Part of our argument has been that if we don’t start to budget to reach our emissions targets, it will be immensely expensive for all of us eventually, not just economically but health-wise and environmentally.
The good news is that if the government starts funding its own own plans to meet its emissions reduction targets, it will also bring added social and economic benefits.
Transport is a sector with growing emissions, not the least because 99% of the current transport budget focuses on motorised vehicles. We need to change direction and move towards healthier forms of transport, and again this will have a positive effect on public health, congestion and road safety. The cost of reducing emissions from transport will be £508m in 2012. We also need to se significant funding for cycling and walking and improved public transport, and to wave goodbye to programmes like extensive new road-building that contradict the overall effort.
Shockingly, more than a third of all Scottish households live in fuel poverty. The fact that around a quarter of our greenhouse gas emissions come from our homes, means improving the energy efficiency of our homes needs to be a priority. We are calling for £100m to go towards a national, street-by-street, universal home insulation scheme in addition to existing energy efficiency schemes.
It’s high time that we start putting funding behind words, beginning with the Scottish 2012 budget. You can help by writing to your MSPs to ask the government to put its money where its mouth is.