Thursday, December 08, 2011

Salmond's Green suicide note

Having listened to Alex Salmond a few weeks ago talking up renewables as "the biggest opportunity for Scotland in 10,000 years" (a bit of hyperbole there), here is another way of looking at SNP policies which is not quite so optimistic.  It relates to the widely reported Audit Scotland report Reducing Scottish Greenhouse Gas Emissions.  The press release includes this text:
The Scottish Government’s plans [are] to reduce emissions by 42 per cent by 2020, compared with 1990. This target is far more ambitious than UK and European Union goals, and the Scottish Government is dependent on action by others to achieve it.
We all like ambition but (according to the summary) this ambition means putting £4m per day into projects to reduce carbon emissions.  Some of these projects will have some value for other reasons but the folly of predicating public policy on science which is deeply flawed will inevitably mean a huge waste of resources.  In the case of targets and wind turbines you might say tilting at windmills, to use an analogy from Don Quixote.  The Daily Express reports the Audit Scotland release highlighting the cost to the taxpayer of £11bn over the next 7 years.  Elsewhere that is described as 'Salmond's Green Suicide Note'.  

I would be surprised if these figures are not a considerable underestimate - knowing all the energy and cost these targets are costing councils.

For the record the targets for reducing emissions against a 1990 baseline by 2020 are:
  • Scotland 42%
  • UK  34%
  • EU  20%

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