The leaders of Scotland’s political parties have signed an agreement that puts energy efficiency central to policy-making.
WWF Scotland brokered the deal ahead of the 2016 Holyrood elections. It commits the parties to delivering on climate change targets and setting out their plans within party manifestos for core elements such as demand reduction, energy efficiency and renewable heat.
Each party has also committed to set out how it will build a low carbon transport system and how it will improve the energy efficiency of Scotland’s buildings through a national infrastructure project as well as plans for decarbonising Scotland’s food sector.
The signed pledges from party leaders were published yesterday in a full page advert in The Herald. WWF issued a statement containing comments from each of the party leaders.
“The SNP has put climate change considerations at the heart of decision making in government,” said First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. “Scotland is now more than three-quarters of the way towards meeting our emissions reduction target of 42 per cent by 2020 and, with a comprehensive package of measures covering transport, environment and energy, we are leading the international effort in tackling climate change. Building on our record, the SNP in government will continue to support individuals, communities and industry as, together, we further reduce carbon emissions and make Scotland the best place possible to live and work.”
Scottish Labour Party leader Kezia Dugdale said: “I believe in environmental justice, that the struggles for sustainability and socialism cannot be separated. That’s why I have appointed an environmental justice spokesperson to my front bench team that has a wide policy brief, bringing together our climate change and energy policies. We need a joined up approach to make sure we reduce our carbon footprint and transform Scotland to a low carbon economy that helps create strong sustainable growth.”
Ruth Davidson MSP, leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party said: “Climate change is a threat to our environment, our security and our economic prosperity. As we approach next year’s Holyrood elections, we will set out our own plans for how we tackle climate change in a manner that boosts business and creates jobs. That’s why I am pleased to join my fellow party leaders in signing the climate change manifesto agreement. It’s an important step forward and my thanks to WWF Scotland for making it happen.”
Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Willie Rennie, said the party’s manifesto would have social justice “at its heart”.
“Liberal Democrats want a country where people stand for and with their neighbours,” said Rennie. “At the core of our vision will be a radical agenda to tackle climate change in way which is credible, affordable and sustainable. I want to meet our world-leading climate change targets, which have been missed for four years running. I look forward to publishing our plans and continuing to uphold our role in this important debate.”
Patrick Harvie, co-convenor of the Scottish Green Party said: “Scotland is in an amazing position to show real leadership on climate change. We can cut emissions, transform our economy and create high quality, lasting jobs by investing in energy efficient housing, renewable power and more localised economies. With big ideas and political will we can unlock Scotland’s potential.”
Lang Banks, director of WWF Scotland said all the parties should be commended for agreeing to build on cross-party support for decarbonisation by committing to action.
“It’s great to know we live in a country where our Parliamentarians have long moved on from debating whether climate change is happening to competing about how we secure the benefits of a low carbon economy,” he said. “In the run up to next May’s election voters will be keen to learn how each of the political parties will use their plans for tackling climate change to create jobs, improve health and reduce inequality.”
The agreement was brokered by WWF Scotland, on behalf of a diverse group of civic organisations, including: Oxfam Scotland, Unison Scotland, the Church of Scotland, Christian Aid Scotland, SCIAF, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, Friends of the Earth Scotland and RSPB Scotland.
See the signed pledge here.