Scotland is perfectly placed to meet green targets at minimal extra cost

Your editorial comment "Green Targets are too grandiose" (Debate & Opinion, 6 December) is too negative.

First, the targets discussed in the plans are not unduly different to those discussed elsewhere. Eighty per cent cuts by 2050, 3 per cent annual cuts and inclusion of air travel are all factors mentioned in post-Kyoto discussions and may be widely adopted in more places than Scotland.

Second, a 3 per cent reduction of carbon year on year should neither be technically unattainable nor impose huge costs. I have looked quantitatively at the likely cost of emissions permits for the think-tank Tomorrow's Company (with a colleague, Professor Michael Mainelli of Z/Yen Group). Over a range of reduction scenarios, we predict the impact of emissions trading is to increase fuel and power costs by percentage points, not by orders of magnitude – provided the reduction programme starts soon and is spread over a 40-year period.

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Finally, many of the steps taken to reduce carbon are ones we could/should be taking anyway. Scotland will need new power stations and it seems sensible to make those as green as possible. If Scotland, with its wind, wave, and tide resources and offshore engineering skills, can't do this, who can?

According to government statistics, 40 per cent of our energy use goes in heating and lighting homes and offices (road transport is about 13 per cent and air travel is much smaller). However, there is about a 5:1 difference in efficiency between the best and worst office spaces. Since 1970 we have achieved annualised energy efficiency improvements of just 1.5 per cent a year – we need to raise that rate of improvement to about 2.5-3 per cent. Turn off those lights and air conditioners.


Moston Terrace


Media commentators and political people talk of our renewable energy targets almost as if they'd been written on tablets of stone by the hand of the Almighty. Since the proportion of world production attributable to the UK is only 2 per cent, and there's absolutely no sign of worldwide curbs, the arbitrary "targets" set by the European Commission are merely green tokenism and of no significant help in combating world climate change, even if current theories regarding man's contribution to it are correct.

In practice, wind turbines are so ineffective that, in Germany, almost 20,000 of them meet well under 5 per cent of the country's needs for power.

Recent proposals to cover Scotland's countryside and coast with ever-larger wind turbines and power lines, at enormous costs to her people and potential damage to tourism, perhaps our most economically important industry, are therefore daft, as well as useless, except to the wind farm developers' and landowners' incomes.

In Scotland's and the UK's best interests, especially in these economically difficult times, I suggest we simply opt out of these meaningless targets.

Just who could stop us and who would suffer from such a change in policy – certainly not the ordinary people of our country, who otherwise face huge and virtually futile costs?


Viewlands Road West


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