Wednesday, 10 September 2008

The SNP and the Green issue - a short tale

We hear a lot of bluster and bold words from politicians about renewable energy. We have targets, Commissions, we even have things called 'green taxes', which, by any other name are just 'taxes'.

But what we don't have is a renewable energy strategy, a clear programme for progress on how we are going to tackle this energy problem.

Now, based on how few of bloggers write about this topic, this shows that it's never going to really top the agenda. Cross-party name-calling, nit-picking, trying to catch each other out on minor inconsistencies and 'my dick's bigger than your dick' is mostly what goes on in the blogosphere. Come to think of it, that's most of what goes on in the Scottish Parliament.

But politicians, in particlular the SNP Government are one of the few parties with enough of a brash, 'fuck it, let's give it a shot' attitude to doing things for our little country. They have set ambitious targets (31% of power from renewables by 2011 and 50% by 2020) and if they match them, I'll be mightily impressed!

So tomorrow sees the Sustainable Scotland conference on how Scotland is facing up to the challenges of the 21st century at Our Dynamic Earth, seemingly with a particular focus on energy and the environment. Jim Mather will be delivering a keynote on clean energy and the question of how Scotland can be a world-leader in this field.

Considering one of the big questions/fears about an independent Scotland is one of how our economy will cope as a future independent nation, and that with most believing that when the oil runs out, our money will have to come from renewables, there ought to be a greater focus on Mather's speech than there is.

Further to this, the SNP Government seems to be getting an open appraisal at the event with Richard Wakeford, the Scottish Government's director general for environment speaking in a review of Government policy and strategy and considering progress (it's an appraisal "Here's how you've done for this last year, and now we'll set some targets for the next").

But will this get reported? Probably not.
Will it be blogged about by anyone other than the annoying hippy-brigade? Doubt it.

To an extent, if we do end up independent, whether you want it or not, major factors for our economy need to be examined, planned, thought through and tested before we can be confident of their success, and that means starting now.

I'm all in favour of a radical renewable energy policy, carpet-bomb the hills with windfarms for all I care, I freaking love them. Go back to Peterhead and get the tidal power project, that Labour frittered away to avoid upsetting Westminster, back on track.

Step up to the plate Jim Mather, this should be a big test for you (though probably won't be), give us a real, strong forward strategy, one that we can reduce emmissions with, but also that we can take to the world, share with the world and sell to the world.

When you talk about 'clean energy' talk about real solutions, not ones that just pander to business (if you try to convince us that 'clean coal' is anything other than just a con, you'll have failed). Talk about how we can really do this, why it's necessary and most of all, why this is a damn good idea for Scotland. You and your party have made good, promising strides so far, don't fade now.

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