Saturday, December 11, 2010

Climate Change minister resigns - the irony

Climate change 'pleasure'
This evening Stewart Stevenson MSP, Scottish Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change resigned.

Two weeks of record snowfalls and record low temperatures, particularly across the heavily populated central belt of Scotland, when the motorway between Edinburgh and Glasgow was closed in one direction for almost 2 days, led to the resignation.

In his own words, here is the reason he gave for his resignation in his letter to Alex Salmond, the Scottish First Minister.
"Although we put in place significant efforts to tackle the event (the cold snap), I feel that I could have done much more to ensure that members of the public who were caught up in a difficult and frightening set of circumstances were better informed of the situation."
As is wont in resignation letters, he then reflects on his achievements:
"It was, however, a particular pleasure to be the minister who steered the climate change legislation through the Scottish Parliament."
The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 was groundbreaking (at the time) in setting targets for emissions reduction beyond any other country in the world.  This, of course, has been the source of considerable satisfaction amongst most of Scotland's politicians.

Now I'm not suggesting that a couple of record breaking cold spells in Scotland on their own tell us very much about whether the globe faces catastrophic warming.

I have no reason to doubt that  Stewart Stevenson is a thoroughly decent and honourable man. And it does seem that his hounding by the press and his opponents has been a bit harsh bearing in mind the length of time since we last had a year of such snow and cold.

Perhaps in the greater leisure time ahead of him, however, he might reflect on the ironic conjunction of his passionate expectation of catastrophic warming, and nature's demonstration of how cold Scotland still is.


  1. Cameron,

    I think the root-cause of the recent cooling has been the Scottish Government took too much carbon out of the atmosphere.

  2. You are a lot kinder to him than many might be.

    Especially those who got stuck in their car for a day or two!

  3. Well, one does try to err on the side of generosity. And although his reactions were wanting (as are his views in some areas!), he didn't actually send the snow. And perhaps it helps that I wasn't stranded in the snow! The worst I experienced was a Scotrail carriage with 130 people on it!