JOHNSTONE: PELAMIS VITAL FOR SCOTLAND'S RENEWABLE FUTURE

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Green MSP Alison Johnstone has urged the Scottish Government to intervene to secure the future of wave technology firm Pelamis, which entered administration last week.

 

Questioning the Energy Minister at Holyrood, she said there was a real danger that Scotland would lose a global leader in the development of the technology to an overseas buyer, and end up importing wave technology in future years.

 

Pelamis employs 56 staff, with most based in Leith.

 

Alison Johnstone, Lothian MSP said:

 

“Pelamis has been a global pioneer in wave technology and a leading Edinburgh company, which we cannot afford to lose. We hear so much about Scotland’s renewable energy potential but we will not reap the rewards without support to turn research into commercially-ready technology.

 

“Pelamis is a highly respected company which has built up a huge amount of expertise. I urge the Scottish Government to use every possible means to support this company and its employees at this uncertain time.”

We hear so much about Scotland's renewable energy potential but we will not reap the rewards without support to turn research into commercially-ready technology.
Alison Johnstone MSP

DEVOLVE FRACKING POWERS SAYS GREEN POLL

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian and a member of Holyrood’s economy and energy committee, is welcoming the results of a poll showing most Scots want powers over fracking to be transferred from Westminster to Scotland.

No Fracking campaign image

A vast swathe of Scotland, from Ayrshire to East Lothian, has been earmarked as ripe for the controversial gas drilling technique, with the UK Government offering tax incentives to developers.

The Survation poll of 1,000 Scots for the Scottish Green MSPs asked whether fracking licenses should be decided by UK or Scottish authorities.

66.1 per cent said control should be devolved to Scotland; 18.2 per cent said control should remain at UK level; 15.7 per cent said they didn’t know.

The poll also asked about the UK Government’s plan to remove property owners’ right to object to pipelines. 66.6 per cent said the final say should be devolved to Scotland; 19.7 per cent said control should remain at UK level; 13.7 per cent said they didn’t know.

It comes as Scottish Green activists launch an anti-fracking campaign in communities across Scotland.

The party’s submission to the Smith Commission said that devolution of energy policy including powers over unconventional gas would allow for the more rapid advance toward renewable energy targets, climate change targets, and community control of local economic decisions.

Alison Johnstone MSP, who earlier this year led a Holyrood debate on the issue, said:

“From coal gasification under the Firth of Forth to coalbed methane in Airth and Canonbie, there are communities around Scotland already battling dangerous developments. Our poll shows Scottish Greens are in tune with local communities who want decisions taken closer to home and it sets a clear challenge to the other parties at Holyrood who have failed to support a moratorium.

“Continuing to dig up and burn fossil fuels is simply reckless, both from a local point of view and in terms of climate change emissions. If Scotland were to gain responsibility for licensing and pipeline permissions I’d hope Holyrood would see sense and shut the door to fracking before it gets a foothold.”

Click below to see the polling in detail.

Fracking licenses poll Q

Fracking drilling poll Q

Scottish Greens’ submission to the Smith Commission:
“The devolution of power in all these areas of energy policy [such as unconventional gas] would allow for the more rapid advance toward renewable energy targets, climate change targets, and community control of local economic decisions.”

 

Our poll shows Scottish Greens are in tune with local communities who want decisions taken closer to home and it sets a clear challenge to the other parties at Holyrood who have failed to support a moratorium.
Alison Johnstone MSP

HARVIE URGES STURGEON TO TOUGHEN UP ON TTIP, FRACKING

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow and co-convener of the Scottish Greens, will today urge incoming First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to toughen the Scottish Government’s stance on key issues.

To date Scottish Ministers have supported the principle of the controversial trade deal between Europe and the US, known as TTIP, which would give corporations the ability to sue governments. The SNP has so far also refused to back calls for a moratorium on unconventional fossil fuel developments such as fracking.

Ahead of her appointment as First Minister at Holyrood this afternoon (19 Nov) Mr Harvie urged Ms Sturgeon to take the opportunity to toughen the Scottish Government’s stance.

Patrick Harvie MSP said:

“The Scottish Government has earned its reputation for promoting renewables but this cannot be allowed to hide an ill-considered enthusiasm for coal, oil and gas. If Nicola Sturgeon wants to reflect what Scotland’s communities are thinking she would do well to say no thanks to fracking and instead focus on clean technology investment and energy efficiency.

“Growing public awareness of the deeply undemocratic corporate power grab known as TTIP should also galvanise the new First Minister into action. Scotland may not have a formal role in the negotiations but Nicola Sturgeon should add her voice to the concerns raised recently by the French government. Scotland’s economic opportunity comes from growing our SMEs and raising wages, not rolling over for big business.”

 
“The Scottish Government believes that TTIP could deliver significant economic benefits for Scotland.”

Letter from Finance Secretary to European Committee

French government will not sign TTIP agreement in 2015 (EurActiv)

“The Scottish Government is open to onshore gas extraction.”

Scottish Government position in SPICe Briefing on Unconventional Gas

Scotland's economic opportunity comes from growing our SMEs and raising wages, not rolling over for big business.
Patrick Harvie MSP

HOSPITAL MEALS REVIEW OPPORTUNITY SAYS JOHNSTONE

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian and health spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, is welcoming proposals by Scottish ministers to improve the quality of hospital food.

New guidelines will be published in January.

Alison Johnstone MSP said:

“It’s good to see the Scottish Government waking up to this important issue. I would encourage every health board to listen carefully to the feedback from patients and relatives to help improve hospital meals.

“I await with interest the new guidelines, and I urge ministers to raise their ambitions for the quality of food served in our hospitals. We should take this opportunity to focus on using more local and fresh ingredients, and we should continually involve patients in a review of the menus.”

We should take this opportunity to focus on using more local and fresh ingredients, and we should continually involve patients in a review of the menus.
Alison Johnstone MSP

JOHNSTONE DISAPPOINTED AS SALMOND BACKS GAS DRILLING

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian and a member of Holyrood’s economy and energy committee, is expressing disappointment after outgoing First Minister Alex Salmond spoke of the “potential” for unconventional gas drilling.

At Mr Salmond’s final First Minister’s Question time today Ms Johnstone highlighted proposals for underground coal gasification, urging him to back jobs in renewables rather than fossil fuel extraction.

Alison Johnstone MSP said:

“In the week that communities living around the Firth of Forth learn of plans to drill into coal seams and set them alight, the outgoing First Minister had an ideal opportunity to get his government off the fence on unconventional gas extraction. Instead he maintained the outdated idea that this industry has potential when the scientific consensus is that we simply cannot afford to burn the fossil fuels we already have.

“While his government has wisely supported the development of renewables it has also encouraged other damaging sources of energy we need to phase out. Communities are rightly concerned and I hope they pile pressure on the new first minister to change tack.”

Communities are rightly concerned and I hope they pile pressure on the new first minister to change tack.
Alison Johnstone MSP

JOHNSTONE SECURES AGREEMENT ON ENERGY EFFICIENT HOMES

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian and a member of Holyrood’s economy and energy committee, today secured agreement from Finance Secretary John Swinney that energy efficient homes should be a national infrastructure priority.

Alison

Ms Johnstone questioned the minister in committee, pointing out that retrofitting existing housing stock could create up to 9,000 jobs.

WWF Scotland and Energy Action Scotland have said that the Scottish Government’s proposed budget for 2015-16 does little to reduce fuel poverty.

Alison Johnstone MSP said:

“I welcome the finance secretary’s agreement that stopping heat leaking from our housing stock should be a national infrastructure priority. He clearly recognised the economic impact, not just in terms of cutting people’s bills but also in terms of creating thousands of high quality jobs and apprenticeships.

“If we’re serious about making up lost ground after three years of missing our climate change targets, and if we’re serious about creating jobs and cutting household costs, we need to see a big shift in funding in this budget. Mr Swinney agrees it should be a priority; let’s see if he will follow through with funding.”

 

Draft Budget 2015-16 submission from WWF Scotland

Submission from Energy Action Scotland

If we're serious about making up lost ground after three years of missing our climate change targets, and if we're serious about creating jobs and cutting household costs, we need to see a big shift in funding in this budget.
Alison Johnstone MSP

COAL GASIFICATION PLANS MUST BE SHUT DOWN SAYS JOHNSTONE

Monday, November 10th, 2014

Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian and a member of Holyrood’s economy and energy committee, is urging communities around the Forth to oppose plans for underground coal gasification.

Drilling firm Cluff, one of a number of firms with licences to extract gas from coal seams around the Scottish coast, says it intends to apply for planning permission to develop drilling operations under the Firth of Forth.

Gasification involves drilling into coal seams, igniting them and capturing the resulting gas from a borehole.

Even with as-yet unproven carbon capture and storage technology, coal gasification would still emit more greenhouse gases than renewables.

Alison Johnstone MSP said:

“Just a week after the IPCC warned that we need to urgently phase out fossil fuels, we have a company preparing to drill for yet more. In recent months I’ve been hearing from local people rightly alarmed at the prospect of unconventional gas drilling in their area, and I’d urge communities to oppose such developments.

“The local authorities and the environmental regulator Sepa must take into account the climate impact from this proposal. It also poses an economic risk by extracting fossil fuel we simply can’t afford to burn, and diverting attention away from the renewables sector that is steadily growing the long-term, well-paid jobs we all want to see.”

 

Last year a poll by the Scottish Greens in West Fife about coal gasification showed widespread concern

Excitement over ‘clean’ underground coal gasification masks technical reality (Carbon Brief)

 

In recent months I've been hearing from local people rightly alarmed at the prospect of unconventional gas drilling in their area, and I'd urge communities to oppose such developments.
Alison Johnstone MSP

LOTHIAN MSP SAYS CUTS MUST PROMPT COUNCIL TAX REFORM

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian and local government spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (5 Nov) urged ministers to make reform of the council tax an urgent priority.

Ms Johnstone used Finance Questions at Holyrood to raise growing concerns among communities where council cutbacks have prompted parents to pay for basic school equipment, and where leisure facilities face being axed.

The Scottish Green MSPs published ideas earlier this year for renewing local democracy, including restoring local tax raising powers, something other European towns and districts take for granted.

Alison Johnstone MSP said:

“When we see local authorities cutting budgets already pared to the bone, putting leisure facilities and frontline services such as education at risk, we have to question the wisdom of seven years of a council tax freeze. This sticking plaster solution proved popular but is now undermining the services our communities rely on.

“Scots are more engaged in politics than ever and I believe they want to see fairer funding of properly empowered local government. Ministers cannot duck this issue any longer and must meet their commitment to consult with others on a way forward.”

 

Eight sports centres face closure over funding cut (Evening News)

Education ‘no longer free’ as parents buy basics (Scotsman)

Renewing Local Democracy in Scotland (Report by Andy Wightman for the Scottish Green Party)

Scots are more engaged in politics than ever and I believe they want to see fairer funding of properly empowered local government.
Alison Johnstone MSP

HARVIE: ENERGY EFFICIENT HOMES MUST BECOME PRIORITY

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow and housing spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, is urging ministers to make energy efficient homes a national infrastructure priority.

Mr Harvie was responding to the climate change minister’s statement on the third annual missed target on greenhouse gas emissions.

It comes as the IPCC warns that climate change is set to cause severe impacts unless emissions are cut sharply, and as WWF and Energy Action Scotland say the Scottish Government’s proposed budget for 2015-16 does little to reduce housing emissions and fuel poverty.

Patrick Harvie MSP said:

“Stopping heat leaking from our housing stock should be a national infrastructure priority. If the Scottish Government is serious about making up lost ground after three years of missed targets it should commit to a big shift in funding.

“A third of Scotland’s homes are in fuel poverty, so by investing in insulation we could cut bills for households right now as well as reduce the emissions threatening quality of life for generations to come. We’d also create thousands of high quality construction jobs.

“Ministers should stop talking up their world-leading failed targets and instead make energy efficient homes a fully-funded policy we can all be proud of.”

 

IPCC Summary for Policymakers

Draft Budget 2015-16 submission from WWF Scotland

Submission from Energy Action Scotland

A third of Scotland's homes are in fuel poverty, so by investing in insulation we could cut bills for households right now as well as reduce the emissions threatening quality of life for generations to come.
Patrick Harvie MSP

STV POLL SHOWS GREEN SURGE; BODES WELL FOR WESTMINSTER

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

The Scottish Greens are welcoming a full poll of Westminster voting intentions in Scotland, showing the party on 6 per cent, level-pegging with the Lib Dems.

It comes on the back of the Green membership surge, with the party now having over 7,000 members compared to just under 2,000 before the referendum.

The 6 per cent figure from Ipsos Mori echoes recent UK-wide polls putting the Greens level or ahead of the Lib Dems.

In May’s European election the Scottish Greens finished ahead of the Lib Dems, beating them in 21 of Scotland’s 32 local authority areas.

Scottish Greens co-convenor Patrick Harvie MSP said:

“This poll bodes well for our Westminster campaign. We are absolutely determined to get a Green MP for Scotland and are gearing up to get our message out.

“It goes to show how wrong the UK broadcasters would be to continue excluding Greens from high profile debates.

“Holyrood is increasingly the focus of Scottish politics but whatever form of devolution comes next Westminster will remain hugely important, and it’s essential that a Scottish Green voice is heard.

“The Lib Dems will pay the price of their austerity cheerleading, and I look forward to our burgeoning Green branches around Scotland putting forward candidates who will champion progressive policies on wages, the economy and our democracy.”

 

The Labour Party in Scotland would face political annihilation if there was a general election tomorrow, according to a poll commissioned by STV

The latest YouGov survey for the Sun has the Greens (7%) ahead of the Liberal Democrats (6%) in voting intention

 

The Lib Dems will pay the price of their austerity cheerleading, and I look forward to our burgeoning Green branches around Scotland putting forward candidates who will champion progressive policies on wages, the economy and our democracy.
Patrick Harvie MSP