Greater clarity called for on climate change plans, according to the Economy Committee

22.03.2013

The Scottish Government’s draft second report on proposals and policies (RPP2) sets out the necessary framework for tackling climate change but lacks clarity in a number of areas, finds the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee.

Commenting on the report, Committee Convener Murdo Fraser MSP said: “It’s clear that the principle behind this report is welcome. However, the Committee heard a number of concerns that although the direction of travel is clear, the detail of how we get there is lacking in some areas.

“Planning 14 years into the future is never easy. However, if we are to measure progress and tackle climate change we need greater clarity on what needs to be done now to provide confidence in long term plans.”

The Committee has made recommendations in the following areas:

  • Content and layout of the draft RPP2
  • Financial provisions
  • Reducing carbon emissions sector
  • Renewable energy
  • Energy generation and supply
  • Reducing energy demand
  • Fuel poverty and fuel prices.

A summary of the Committee’s recommendations includes:

Content and layout of the draft RPP2

  • Clarity and transparency. We welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to including additional data on the progress of the proposals and policies in RPP2 and its annual climate change reports to Parliament ahead of the publication of the draft RPP3 in 2016. We recommend that the Scottish Government provide detail in the final RPP2 of how it intends to monitor its policies.
  • Missed 2010 target. It is essential that the final RPP2 provides a clear framework for meeting annual targets and for making up ground for the missed 2010 target.

Financial provisions

  • Sources of funding and where financial burdens lie. We ask the Scottish Government to consider publishing future draft RPP reports prior to publishing its draft budget to enable an assessment of the required budget allocations necessary to achieve specific policies.
    We recommend that the final RPP2 provide greater transparency on who is expected to pay the costs of policies up to 2020.

Reducing carbon emissions

  • Decarbonisation target. We note the Scottish Government’s announcement of a 2030 decarbonisation target for the electricity sector and would like to see more detail on how the target will be achieved in the final RPP2.
  • Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). We are concerned to hear from witnesses that the high costs of CCS could mean that the Scottish Government’s CCS 2020 target may not be achieved.
  • European Union Emissions Trading System (ETS). Given the concerns expressed by witnesses that the EU will not adopt a 30 per cent emissions reduction target for 2020, we ask the Scottish Government to identify in the final RPP2 explicit proposals and policies which would mitigate this risk to achieving its emissions reduction targets.

Renewable energy

  • District heating. We agree with the Scottish Government’s view that more needs to be done to facilitate district heating and ask that the final RPP2 provide details of how the Scottish Government plans to address issues such as the promotion and funding of community district heating schemes, raising public awareness, assisting off-gas grid and rural properties and promoting investment in large industrial facilities.

Energy generation and supply

  • Grid access and transmission charges. We urge the Scottish Government to continue to press the UK Government and energy companies to resolve current grid access and upgrade issues. This will provide investment confidence and also enable communities to take advantage of low carbon opportunities and contribute to achieving the carbon emissions reduction targets.
  • We are very concerned to hear that the lack of a decision on a transmission charging regime is having a negative impact on investment in the renewable energy sector and is that there is effectively an investment ‘hiatus’.

Reducing energy demand

  • Scottish energy efficiency schemes. We welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to a £200m Scotland-wide National Retrofit Programme with a focus on tackling hard-to-treat and private rented properties. However we are concerned that doubts remain about whether the energy companies will contribute the expected £135m each year from the implementation of the ECO scheme. We recommend that the Scottish Government seek assurances from the energy companies on their financial commitments and include this in the final RPP2.

Energy demand and building standards.

  • We welcome the Scottish Government’s ambition to improve building regulations and cut emissions in new and existing buildings. However, given the concerns expressed about the predicted costs to businesses, especially SMEs, of achieving emissions reduction targets for existing buildings we ask the Scottish Government to provide greater detail in the final RPP2 on measures to assist SMEs in reducing energy consumption.

Fuel poverty and fuel prices

  • We welcome the work that the Scottish Government is doing to improve the energy efficiency of domestic and non-domestic buildings which will in turn reduce fuel bills.
  • However, given the clear link between increases in the cost of fossil fuel energy and the increase in fuel poverty we ask the Scottish Government to maintain pressure on the UK Government and energy providers to act on rising energy costs.

 

Background

On 29 January 2013 the Scottish Government published Low Carbon Scotland: Meeting our Emissions Reductions Targets 2013-2027 – the draft second report on proposals and policies (RPP2).

The Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee was one of four parliamentary committees that scrutinised this document.

The other three Committee’s – Local Government and Regeneration, Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment and Infrastructure and Capital Investment have published their own reports into issues relating to their remit.

Read the report

Read the report in full here

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