SNP and Greens deal will lead to stronger action for the climate
Climate campaigning organisation Friends of the Earth Scotland has welcomed the draft cooperation deal between the SNP and the Scottish Green Party announced today.
Some of the positives for the climate that the organisation has highlighted include the strong commitment on the need for a just transition and for Scotland to deliver on agreements of limiting temperature rise to 1.5C, bigger expansion of onshore wind capacity, more ambitious plans to increase walking and cycling with a budget of 10% of the transport budget, and strong action on changing heating from fossil fuels to renewables.
A review of oil and gas extraction has been welcomed as a step in the right direction, but the organisation says it is essential that it is conducted independently. On carbon capture and hydrogen made from gas, the agreement is a disappointing compromise.
Friends of the Earth Scotland’s Director Dr Richard Dixon said:
“Overall, the proposed deal between the SNP and the Scottish Green Party will lead to stronger action for the climate. When two parties work together there has to be compromise, no-one gets to deliver their full manifesto. The question for the environment is whether this agreement pushes the SNP sufficiently further than they would already have gone for it to be worth the Greens having to make their own compromises. On the basis of this draft, the answer is likely yes with strong extra action on areas that make a difference to climate change and a review of oil and gas promised.
“We welcome strong action on housing, heating, active travel and renewable energy, all of which will make a big difference over the next five years. Climate change demands urgent action in all areas of life and we hope that the SNP and Greens working together, including with two Green Ministers in Government, will be able to reduce emissions rapidly and ensure a healthy, liveable place for all.
“On oil and gas, its disappointing that the agreement doesn’t simply rule out new development as recommended by the International Energy Agency, and this should be a starting point for a review. The negotiations have clearly been difficult but the proposed review could be a game changer. However, any review of the future of oil and gas needs to be independent of government, with the right remit and the right experts contributing. If it’s done right it cannot fail to conclude that we need to phase out oil and gas extraction in short order.
“There is a disappointing compromise on CCS and hydrogen from fossil fuels. The Greens will need to use the caveat that these ‘cannot be used to justify unsustainable levels of fossil fuel extraction’ to argue for the right priorities for hydrogen from renewables and push the case against hydrogen from gas.”
Some highlights of the deal:
- Strong commitment on the need for a Just Transition and for Scotland to deliver on the Paris Agreement target of limiting temperature rise to 1.5C
- A review of how much more oil and gas extraction is consistent with the Paris Agreement goals
- Massive expansion of onshore wind capacity, including making the planning system consider climate change strongly in decision making
- A £500m Just Transition fund targeting the North East
- Big ambitions on walking and cycling, with spending on this area at last reaching 10% of the overall transport budget
- New road schemes only allowed in very limited circumstances like safety improvements and the dualling plans for the A96 will be reviewed.
- Build 20-minute neighbourhoods into planning priorities
- Strong extra action on changing heating from fossil fuels to renewables
- Introducing targets for restoring and protecting nature
The draft co-operation agreement and policy programme are here: https://www.gov.scot/binaries/content/documents/govscot/publications/agreement/2021/08/scottish-government-and-scottish-green-party-shared-policy-programme/documents/scottish-government-and-scottish-green-party-draft-shared-policy-programme/scottish-government-and-scottish-green-party-draft-shared-policy-programme/govscot%3Adocument/SG%2BSGP%2BTalks%2B-%2BDraft%2BPolicy%2BProgramme%2B-%2BFINAL%2B-%2BOFFSEN.pdf?forceDownload=true and here: https://www.gov.scot/binaries/content/documents/govscot/publications/agreement/2021/07/scottish-government-and-scottish-green-party-co-operation-agreement/documents/scottish-government-and-scottish-green-party-parliamentary-group-draft-cooperation-agreement/scottish-government-and-scottish-green-party-parliamentary-group-draft-cooperation-agreement/govscot%3Adocument/SG%2BSGP%2B-%2BDraft%2BCooperation%2BAgreement%2B-%2BFINAL%2B-%2BOFFSEN.pdf
The agreement will be discussed and voted on at an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Scottish Green Party.
Friends of the Earth Scotland is
* Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 73 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups.