Now let's have a Climate Change Policy.

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Holyrood settled today for a compromise position on much of the Climate Change Bill, with a few notable exceptions. 

The idea of carbon-costing future budgets is now written into law, the odd "may" is now a "must", and that interim target is higher, at least for now. 

Rob Gibson quoted Patrick's comment that the SNP would need to be dragged kicking and screaming to 40% scathingly, as if that wasn't basically what happened (in fact, I could almost see him kicking his desk at the time).

The trouble is that when Labour made their move on this at FMQs last week, they needed to have loads of caveats in their text to keep Des (I'm guessing) happy. 

When the Nats decided to try and outbid them, they gleefully adopted his language, caveats and all. Notably, they can abandon the target if they get a letter from the big boys in London allowing them to do so.

Stewart Stevenson made some pledges on that, as follows (I paraphrase): 

"I promise not to ruin the Bill if we get a tough deal at Copenhagen, I promise only to ruin the Bill if I get the letter I've already got, and I promise only to ruin the Bill once."

The bottom line here remains the same, and the problem is much wider than the SNP. It's the policy weaknesses shared across the Chamber. Labour, the Tories and the Liberals are all signed up to climate-busting transport schemes across the country, to new coal plants with as yet undeveloped technical fixes (although you can never make opencast clean), to airport expansion, and to doing next to nothing on insulation.

Whatever the target, without actual policy change in these areas all we'll be doing in future years is berating Ministers for missing their targets. Those activists who pushed Parliament as far as the other 127 would go had better not pack up: without their continued efforts, on actual policy issues, we won't have achieved as much today as they hope.

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This page was published on June 24, 2009 5:10 PM.

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