SNP eyes increased climate ambition from UK in manifesto

The SNP has urged the UK to match Scotland’s ambition on the climate in its election manifesto.

Published on 27 November, the manifesto set out how Scotland will look to lead the way in showing how a society can transition to net zero while creating economic opportunity. SNP MPs will demand that the UK accelerates action to meet Scotland’s climate goals – 75% reduction in emissions by 2030 and net zero of all emissions by 2045 – considered the toughest legal targets in the world. Its MPs will also campaign for the UK government to bring forward plans to move to electric vehicles to 2032, matching the Scottish target, as well as pressing for quicker deployment of fully operational carbon capture utilisation and storage facilities. It explained it will fund these goals through a Net Zero Fund, created by ring-fencing oil and gas receipts over the next five years to 2023-24.

This Net Zero Fund will also look to drive investment in renewable energy, which the manifesto stressed was an area Scotland can still do more.

Around 75% of Scotland’s electricity came from renewable sources in 2018, while wind power output hit a record high in the first half of 2019 and over £10mn is set to be invested in the marine energy sector and tidal innovation. Looking ahead, the SNP will press the UK to accelerate action on decarbonising the gas grid; ensure all new homes must use renewable or low carbon heat from 2024; press the UK to properly support the renewables industry, or devolve powers to Scotland to “let us get on with the job”; and oppose new nuclear plants, favouring investment on cleaner, cheaper forms of electricity generation instead.

The manifesto also called for onshore wind and solar power to be able to bid for contracts for different (CfD) support, while the SNP further pledged to ensure the CfD auctions support less mature technologies such as floating offshore wind and tidal stream generation, ensuring Scotland’s economy can benefit from these industries. It also proposed a Green Energy Deal, aimed at gaining support for the renewables industry. This deal will look to ensure green energy projects are handed the long-term certainty required to support investment while also delivering a wave and tidal energy industrial strategy with adequate funding.