Friday, June 26, 2009

Arnold Schwarzenegger backs Scottish climate change laws

Daily Record, Jun 25 2009 
By Magnus Gardham

FILM star turned politician Arnold Schwarzenegger last night backed Scotland's crackdown on pollution.
It came as MSPs unanimously backed a plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 42 per cent by 2020 in Scotland.
The Terminator star, who is now governor of California, said: "Climate change is a global problem that requires a global solution.
"California has set aggressive greenhouse gas reduction targets, but we need the help of the world to tackle the most pressing environmental issue of our time.
"Scotland's ambitious and comprehensive targets encourage other nations to step up to the plate as we look toward an international agreement in Copenhagen, and it sends a message to the world that we must act now and must act swiftly."
The Holyrood decision will mean a race towards electric cars, more wind and wave power and a massive programme to insulate Scotland's draughty homes to save energy.
The target will also have an impact on farming, as methane produced by flatulent cows is one of the causes of global warming.
More trees will have to be planted across large swathes of countryside to soak up CO2 and other gases.
The drive will continue for decades, as Scotland tries to meet an even more ambitious long-term target to cut emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.
The plan follows dire warnings about changes to Scotland's weather by 2080.
By then, Met Office experts believe warmer, wetter winters will make snow covered mountains a thing of the past.
The new target, set out in Holyrood's climate change Bill, followed a U-turn by the SNP government, who originally wanted a 34 per cent cut.
But they agreed the tougher target under pressure from Labour, Lib Dem and Green MSPs.
Labour environment spokeswoman Sarah Boyack said: "The Scottish government's challenge now is to translate this Bill into action and to give leadership to the implementation of the new policies and opportunities."
The targets are based on levels of greenhouse gas emissions in 1990.
They have already come down by 18 per cent since then, so Scotland is already nearly half way towards achieving the new target.
And in the run-up to yesterday's historic debate, campaigners voiced fears the plans were not tough enough.
The ambitious new goal will be downgraded if countries fail to agree new worldwide climate goals at the summit in Copenhagen later this year.
And no formal sanctions will be imposed on ministers if Scotland cannot reach the target by 2020.
But last night campaign group Stop Climate Chaos hailed the move as a "hugely significant example" for other countries to follow.
Chairman Mike Robinson said: "It means Scotland's climate change Bill has the toughest target of any industrialised nation in the world.
"It will be held up as an example, ahead of the climate talks in Copenhagen in December, of what can and should be done."
Richard Dixon, head of the WWF in Scotland, said: "Scotland may be a small nation, but it has proved today that it is prepared to stand up and be counted.
"This new law sets a benchmark that every industrialised country will need to live up to."
More than 100 members of the public were given a chance to lobby constituency MSPs on the new law. One woman come all the way from Ullapool in Wester Ross to attend.

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