Draft budget fails to adequately fund climate change action

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland is disappointed at the failure to adequately tackle climate change in the draft Budget.

On Wednesday 21st September, the Scottish Government published its Draft Budget for 2012-13 along with their Spending Review which outlines priorities over the next three years.

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland has repeatedly called for this to, as a minimum, fully fund the Government’s own plans for meeting its legally-binding emissions reduction targets, as set in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009.

However, the Government has chosen not to fund even its own plans to reduce emissions, instead focusing spending on a massive road-building programme, which will significantly increase our carbon emissions. For example, while the large trunk roads budget sees a further increase of 25%, public transport faces huge cuts and there is a significant lack of investment in cycling and walking.

The focus on road-building undermines the Scottish Government’s own ambition – set out in its Public Engagement Strategy – to get people across Scotland to reduce their own carbon footprints. It is unreasonable for the Government to focus investment of public funds in carbon-intensive areas while asking people to do the opposite and make changes in their own lives to help reduce emissions.

In June 2011, the Scottish Government stated that “every minister must be a climate change minister”. It would seem that the Housing and Transport Minister, Keith Brown, did not get that message, as carbon-intensive road-building programmes have been favoured at the expense of action on climate change under his portfolio. This is despite the fact the transport remains the one area of Scottish economy to have increased its emissions since 1990.

The allocation of transport funding in the draft budget means that Scotland’s emissions in the transport sector will continue to increase over the coming years. If Scotland fails to achieve our annual emissions reduction targets in the coming years, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland assumes that the Transport Minister will be among the first to acknowledge the responsibility Scotland’s transport system has played in failing our world leading Climate Change Act.

While there has been a small increase in energy efficiency funding, £200m for the next three years, is still lower than required and only brings us back up to a similar level of investment to that for 2010-11.

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland calls for all Scottish Government Ministers to amend the budget to fully fund its own plans to have any chance of meeting our targets under the Act and enabling Scotland to play its fair part in avoiding catastrophic climate change.

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