Page last updated at 23:59 GMT, Wednesday, 8 April 2009 00:59 UK

Unlikely duo in climate bill call

Grangemouth petrochemical plant
The duo want assurances that emission reductions will be delivered in Scotland

A environmental group and an energy firm have issued a joint call for the climate change bill to be changed.

Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) and Stop Climate Chaos Scotland have joined forces to make the call to ministers, in what it calls an unprecedented move.

They want a "loophole" closed which they claim "threatens to derail action in Scotland to cut emissions".

Ministers have described the bill as the most ambitious climate change legislation in the world.

But the duo said that as the bill stands, Scotland could put off taking action to tackle climate change.

The bill currently allows for Scotland to meet its targets either by reducing emissions here, or by purchasing carbon credits on the international market.

This is a major opportunity not to be missed
Keith MacLean
Scottish and Southern Energy

SSE and Stop Climate Chaos claimed "there is, therefore, no incentive in the bill for the Scottish Government to take measures to deliver a reduction in emissions in Scotland".

They have proposed an amendment to ensure at least 80% of any targets are met through reductions made in Scotland.

Mike Robinson, chairman of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, said:"There should be a mechanism in the bill that will require government to deliver at least 80% of the annual emission reduction from within Scotland.

"We cannot sit back and pay to carry on polluting.

"It is time to act, and it is our responsibility and obligation as a developed nation to set an example."

He said it was a clear opportunity for the Scottish Government to lead the world.

However, ministers have already hailed the bill as a "world leader".

'International leadership'

The targets in the bill include a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and a cut of 80% by 2050.

If backed by the Scottish Parliament, it would also allow ministers to establish a Scottish committee on climate change, or similar body, to exercise advisory functions.

It will include international aviation and shipping within its targets, as well as emissions from all six greenhouse gases, not just carbon dioxide.

But Keith MacLean SSE's head of policy development, said: "Scotland could demonstrate significant international leadership by adopting the principle of action at home in law.

"A significant added benefit from this commitment will be to aid sustainable economic recovery and provide additional economic, social and environmental benefits to Scotland.

"This is a major opportunity not to be missed."

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