Just a quick post to highlight the fact that the Climate Change (Scotland) Bill is currently going through Stage 1 of the legislative process in the Scottish Parliament.
This means that the Bill is being scrutinised by the relevant parliamentary committees, who are taking evidence in person from a range of relevant experts, the civil service and relevant Ministers.
The lead committee is the Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee, who meet on Tuesdays at 2pm. The evidence sessions are broadcast live on Holyrood TV. This week a number of experts in climate science and policy were questioned on the Bill, while last week the process kicked off with questioning of the Scottish Government team who drafted the bill. This week’s session in particular was pretty interesting viewing, but it was also worthwhile hearing some of the logic behind the way the Bill was drafted last week.
As pointed out by many witnesses to the committee so far, it is important to realise that emissions occuring in Scotland are already significantly regulated until 2020 at least. Around 50% of our emissions (including aviation from 2013) are regulated by the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. Due to this we can only attribute the EU ETS trend to them – it is logically impossible to account for the actual emissions in Scotland from EU ETS participants – and these are going to decline at less than 2% a year until 2020 as things stand (A strong post-Kyoto global deal should see this rate increase though). It is also worth remembering that all of Scotland’s emissions are also included in the 2020 target embodied in the UK Climate Change Act, and that the target from this may be stricter than the minimum amount specified in the Climate Change (Scotland) Bill – thereby enforcing a faster decline than the minimum rate specified in the Bill. Last week the Civil Service representatives explained the less specifically demanding initial targets are representing a mixture of pragmatism and a reflection of the other (i.e. EU and UK level) actions that are already decided for the next decade. They were also very keen to point out that annual decreases are all “at least”, rather than a specific % each year.
This week there was some discussion of the emissions “windfall” that is likely to occur due to the recession. I guess the hard part will be making sure that as the economy climbs out of its dip, emission levels are not allowed to climb back out with it. But that’s a discussion for a different day….