Page last updated at 12:37 GMT, Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Expert team to advise on Scottish climate targets

Scottish and Southern Energy's Ian Marchant is the chair of the body
Scottish and Southern Energy's Ian Marchant is the chair of the body

Bosses from some of Scotland's main energy companies are to advise the Scottish government on achieving its climate change targets.

The 2020 Group will help ensure Scotland cuts greenhouse emissions by 42% over the next 10 years.

The body is chaired by Ian Marchant, the chief executive of Scottish and Southern Energy.

ScottishPower and Grangemouth oil refinery operator Ineos are also part of the group.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond announced the 2020 Group's membership as the UN climate change conference is taking place in the Danish capital Copenhagen.

There should be no doubt climate change is the greatest environmental threat we face
Alex Salmond
First minister of Scotland

The Scottish government has been excluded from the UK delegation, with Westminster saying it would negotiate for the UK as a whole.

The Scottish Parliament has passed legislation setting out emission reduction targets of 42% by 2020, rising to 80% by 2050.

Mr Salmond said: "There should be no doubt that climate change is the greatest environmental threat we face, so we must act now, and act together, to tackle it.

"And there should be no doubt about the commitment of the Scottish government, parliament and our private, public and third sector partners to tackling climate change.

"This new group brings together a wide range of expertise to examine in detail the actions needed across Scotland to meet our ambitious climate change targets."

Figures from the finance and transport world are also part of the 2020 Group, as well as a number of environmental experts.

They include Lady Susan Rice, managing director at Lloyds Banking Group Scotland; BT Scotland director Brendan Dick; and Royal Mail's Scottish director, Ian McKay.

They are joined by ScottishPower boss Nick Horler; Grangemouth manager Gordon Grant; Nicola Shaw, the managing director of FirstGroup; and Stagecoach founder Brian Souter.

climate change advisers
Mr Salmond unveiled his advisers at the Falkirk Wheel

Scottish Conservative deputy leader Murdo Fraser said: "Having set up this group headed by Ian Marchant, I can only hope Alex Salmond will listen to the advice given.

"Scottish and Southern Energy have said modern nuclear power stations 'represent a proven, low-carbon generation technology which could benefit security of energy supply by increasing the diversity of the fuel mix and reducing reliance on gas imports'.

"These are wise words and indeed Alex Salmond's own Council of Economic Advisers has constantly warned that Scotland needs to consider all types of energy for the future."

Labour environment spokeswoman Sarah Boyack said: "To date we have not seen enough action on the basics like energy efficiency, low-carbon transport and investment in green jobs.

"It is six months since the passing of the Climate Change Act in Scotland and we need to start seeing these measures put into practice now."

Liberal Democrat leader Tavish Scott questioned why the first minister was not attending a Scottish government climate change event on 14 December in Copenhagen, where the world climate change summit is being held.

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