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Climate Change: breaking the barriers to a low-carbon Scotland

Climate Change: breaking the barriers to a low-carbon Scotland

As this is Climate Week 2011, it is a good time to look at the barriers to a low-carbon Scotland and how they can be broken down. Fortunately the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) has just released a report into this very issue and this rather natty wee video:

The report makes ten main recommendations:

  1. The UK Government should urgently improve the infrastructure and management of the electricity grid in Scotland to optimise the development of renewable energy and to permit the export of surplus renewable energy.
  2. The Scottish and UK Governments need to retrofit existing regulation to achieve a balance with the need to reduce carbon emissions.
  3. The Scottish Government should work with local authorities and businesses to align and sharpen regulation in order to achieve a step change in energy efficiency in buildings and transport.
  4. The Scottish Government and local authorities should jointly introduce truly integrated polices in order to achieve effective reductions in emissions at a regional level.
  5. The Scottish Government should develop a spatially-referenced national land use plan integrated with regional strategic plans in order to optimise carbon sequestration.
  6. The finance industry should take a lead and work with government to create the business environment that will mobilise private finance in support of a low-carbon society.
  7. All organisations should appraise their goals and practices in the light of the urgency to achieve a low-carbon society.
  8. Local authorities should integrate and embed their low-carbon policies across all their various functions.
  9. The Scottish Government and local authorities should actively assist local communities to introduce low-carbon initiatives.
  10. Closer engagement is needed between people, civil society, market and state in the pursuit of Scotland’s low-carbon vision.

If you would like to read a summary of the report, there is a 2.16Mb pdf here, or you can download a copy of the full report as a 42.8Mb pdf. Looking at the recommendations above, you will see that most relate to government and you might be wondering what you can do. Well, always remember that elected governments, both national and local, are there to work for you! Your elected representatives do sometimes need some help in making the right decisions, so write to them and give them reason to do the right thing.

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A modest proposal

A modest proposal

In these days of austerity and cuts I would like to make a modest proposal to save money from the public purse. I suggest that we means test parliamentary salaries. Where an MP has an income outwith parliament, this should be deducted at a pro rata from their parliamentary salaries, and if the MP has assets of more that £1,000,000, they should get no salary from the public purse at all. After all, when pay for MPs was first introduced in 1911, it was to enable those without a private income to be able to sit in the House of Commons, and the hours which the Commons sits are intended so that members can continue their outside jobs, which many do to this very day. This modest move would save at least £2,430,105 a year on the salaries of members of the Cabinet alone. Of course more significant sums of money could be raised if the Chancellor would be persuaded to close all the tax loop holes currently used by the richest 1% of the population to avoid paying tax in this country. This would bring approximately £13,000,000,000 extra to the Treasury per year, but would mean that several members of the Cabinet would have to pay large tax bills themselves. If these fair and modest measures where brought in, the next time a member of the Government told us that “we are all in this together”, it might actually mean something…

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