Commenting on Alistair Darling’s budget announcement, Duncan McLaren, Chief Executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland said:
“There were some green shoots in this budget, but they were few and far between, dwarfed by the massive missed opportunities to put us on the path to a low carbon economy.
“The 2020 emissions target is lower than the science demands to play a fair role in preventing climate chaos. It’s also too low to drive real green innovation.”
On new money for energy efficiency, green technology and carbon capture, he said:
“The investments in energy efficiency and green technology, while welcome, remain tiny in comparison with those recommended by Lord Stern of up to £10 billion a year.
“The inclusion of support for more carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration projects is a tacit acknowledgement of the climate trashing nature of new unabated coal-fired power stations like those proposed at Kingsnorth or Hunterston, but unless this money drives rapid full-scale adoption of CCS, such new coal plants will remain a disaster.
McLaren also pointed to a serious contradiction for a so-called ‘green budget:
“On the one hand to increase support for energy efficiency and carbon saving at home, and on the other to fund increased oil and gas exploitation in the north sea, adding to emissions elsewhere, demonstrates the failure of low-carbon thinking to penetrate throughout the Treasury.
He also commented on the measures to promote saving and investment:
“The Chancellor had a chance to stimulate new public saving to fund a green recovery by issuing Green Treasury Bonds hypothecated to fund renewable energy and public transport, but sadly he adopted unfocused and scattershot measures to promote saving and investment, regardless of its carbon intensity. He could also have followed leading European nations in creating a dedicated public infrastructure bank to drive forward such investments.
And on future tax rises he said:
“And finally, the Chancellor almost entirely missed one of the biggest opportunities of all. We all know taxes must rise in future years to recover from deficit spending today. With the exception of a small but welcome increase in fuel duties, the Chancellor has ignored the potential to raise green taxes rather than conventional taxes”.