LibLink: Christine Jardine: Days before COP26, Tories and SNP let us down on climate change

In her Scotsman column this week, Christine Jardine looks forward to COP26, but highlights how both Scotland’s governments have mucked up on climate change:

First there was the mic drop moment when the SNP at Holyrood teamed up with the Tories at Westminster to back a third runway at Heathrow Airport. A move which will increase carbon dioxide emissions over that part of the country by a mind-boggling 183 billion kilograms by 2050, once you take into account not just the flights but the construction.

I am no expert but that’s a lot of CO2.

And this must be uncomfortable for the SNP’s new partner in Government:

What was particularly curious was that while my own party – the Scottish Liberal Democrats – introduced an amendment to scrap support for the runway, the Scottish Greens are content to continue in government with the party which backs that Heathrow expansion.

The Tories added insult to injury by cutting Air Passenger Duty:

It is accepted that aircraft on routes of 700 kilometres or less emit more carbon dioxide per person for every kilometre travelled than long-haul flights do. The actual figures are 251 grams per km for short haul compared to 195g per km for long haul.

The reason is that take-off and landing use the most fuel, while level flight over longer distance is cleaner in comparison.

So encouraging an increase in domestic flights will simply increase pollution around our airports. Again not what I wanted to hear for my own constituents.

And you would think that a budget the week before hosting a huge international climate change conference would have had tackling climate change at its heart. Not a bit of it:

There were 7,846 words in the Chancellor’s budget speech. “Climate” was not one of them.

Neither was there any investment in our railways, support for alternative vehicle fuels or game-changing thinking on shifting to a green economy.

There was once a better Governemnt:

We should have more to rely on than a handful of programmes making it marginally easier for some to afford an electric car or sustainable heating.

What happened to the exciting years of the coalition when the Liberal Democrats introduced the Green Deal, Green Investment Bank and wanted to invest in carbon capture

You can read the whole article here.

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  • Brad Barrows 3rd Nov '21 - 8:01am

    As I recall, the SNP reached an agreement in 2016 to back expansion of Heathrow once it secured guarantees of direct benefits to Scotland but, when the issue came to a vote in the House of Commons in 2018, the party’s MPs abstained due to lack of the guarantees they were requiring as well as growing environmental concerns. Happy to be corrected if I have got that wrong.

  • Kyle Harrison 3rd Nov '21 - 10:33am

    I believe in achieving carbon neutral but when you consider the drop in the ocean the UK is compared to China, India and the US, and the fact that the UK has had declining CO2 emissions for years now. I don’t think it’s outrageous to support the Union by encouraging and making it cheaper to travel around the UK. The govt did put up taxes on long distance travel.

    I don’t think being eco friendly means being eco friendly should always trump every other concern.

  • Nonconformistradical 3rd Nov '21 - 2:22pm

    @Kyle Harrison
    “I don’t think being eco friendly means being eco friendly should always trump every other concern.”
    Why not make it cheaper to travel by train? Why not do what France is doing and prohibit internal passenger flights where the equivalent journey can be made by train in 2 & half hours?

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