Earth Hour matters. In our busy day-to-day lives this huge event forces us to stop and think about the future. Raising awareness of the climate challenge we face. Setting out concrete actions we can take to protect our environment. Ensuring that our children live in a fairer, greener society.
The Liberal Democrats are the only party to have nailed their green credentials to the mast, and set out how our radical agenda will be delivered in a way that is both credible and affordable.
Protecting the environment is in the Lib Dem’s DNA, and having five Green Laws on the front page of our Manifesto shows our intent.
From day one of the next Parliament we will have our green commitments on the table, from cleaning up the air we breathe, to greening the energy and transport we use. These are Liberal Democrats commitments because they build a fairer society.
The new UK laws will help achieve existing Scottish Government targets and especially help meet those where performance is struggling. They would help Scotland along the way to meeting our world-leading climate change targets (YouTube video), which have been missed for three years running.
The five green laws will cover climate change, waste, nature, energy and warm homes. Each has a specific relevance for Scottish households and businesses.
These five measures show that the election of Liberal Democrats to Westminster will do more to tackle climate change than relying on the Scottish Government alone.
Liberal Democrats are proud of our environmental record in government. From the launch of the Green Investment Bank to record investment in railways and renewable energy, we have taken a personal responsibility for the “green crap” that others too often brush aside past polling day.
The challenge to our climate in Scotland and across the UK remains as stark as it was five years ago. We have made progress, but much more needs to be done. For example, the Committee on Climate Change found that UK sales of electric vehicles in Scotland had fallen back to 6%. Our five green laws go further and put green commitments at the heart of the next Parliament’s legislative programme.
They will set out the target of a zero carbon Britain by 2050, decarbonising energy production and supporting renewable strengths (PDF) we have in Scotland.
We will enact a Stern style report on waste to create a circular economy where products are designed to minimise their impact on the environment and waste is treated as a resource for further economic benefit. Our Green Transport law will quicken the moves to ultra-low emission and electric vehicles by the middle of the century.
Our Warm Homes law will allow OFGEM to help Scottish households who connect to heat networks, giving people more confidence to take the step. We will permit the Green Investment Bank to support community heating and insulation initiatives.
Our Nature Act will help protect biodiversity, with new provision for wildlife including the establishment of a one million kilometre South Atlantic marine reserve.
This sets a clear direction for households, industry and the public sector when making policy. It realises Liberal Democrat ambitions for a fairer society, building a stronger and more sustainable economy which provides opportunity for future generations.
Willie Rennie MSP, Leader of Scottish Liberal Democrats
Have you signed up for Earth Hour? Tell us what you will be up to on the night