Thank you to constituents who have emailed me about green energy and climate investment ahead of the UK Government’s spending review. This is an incredibly important matter, particularly in the run up to COP26, and I sincerely appreciate people taking the time to raise this with me.
From the outset, I can assure you that my SNP colleagues and I share your concerns. We fully support calls for Chancellor Sunak to introduce more support for energy efficient strategies – as we have been calling on the UK Government to step up their efforts in the face of this climate crisis for some time. We firmly believe it is long overdue for the rest of the UK to show the same level of ambition as Scotland has shown when it comes to tackling the climate emergency.
As you may be aware, the Scottish Government are committed to Scotland being at the forefront of global efforts to tackle climate change by delivering on the aims of the Paris Agreement. The Scottish Government has committed to reaching net-zero emissions by 2045, with an ambitious interim 2030 target of a 75% reduction. These targets form the heart of Scot Gov’s indicative National Determined Contribution, published ahead of COP26.
Scotland is also striving to become more energy efficient and recognises how important a green energy switch in homes will be to this goal. I understand that at least 1 million Scottish homes will need to switch to zero emissions heating by 2030 to meet our climate change targets. With support of the Scottish Green Party, the SNP Scottish Government are accelerating the timetable for improving the energy efficiency of homes – and by the end of this year will have allocated over £1bn since 2009 to tackling fuel poverty and improving energy efficiency. The Scottish Government also spends four times as much as the Tories at Westminster on household energy efficiency – the highest average annual per capita investment in the UK.
Scotland’s decision to classify energy efficiency as a national infrastructure priority has been almost universally praised, with even the Westminster Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee’s 2019 report highlighting this policy action as crucial to reaching our net-zero targets.
By marking this as an infrastructure priority, the SNP Scottish Government has embedded efficiency as a structural long-term benefit. In stark contrast, this same report worryingly warned that if the UK Government doesn’t reform its energy efficiency policy, in a similar fashion, then it has no chance of meeting its climate change targets – including net zero emissions by 2050.
Given we are all in this crisis together, I can assure you that my SNP colleagues and I will continue to lobby the UK Government to invest more to tackle climate change and call for bolder action to reach their net zero targets. I hope the Chancellor will recognise the importance of the climate emergency by committing to meaningful and long-term funding for greener energy in the upcoming spending review. As you have rightly highlighted, there cannot be any more delay.
In the meantime, thank you again to everyone who emailed about this issue. I hope the above makes clear the actions Scotland is taking to tackle the climate emergency and makes the views of both myself, and my colleagues, clear on this incredibly important matter.