People’s Politics GE2017 - Our Environment

After the horrific Manchester attack, the Church of Scotland cancelled a hustings event planned for the General Assembly. Instead we are now publishing three videos made for the event, along with responses to the questions they raise. The videos look at Brexit, the Environment and our welfare system.

Rev Dr Richard Frazer, convener of the Church and Society Council, says:

“The Church’s calling is to stand alongside people and to hear the voice of those to whom society may sometimes turn a deaf ear. These people are our congregations’ members, our colleagues and our friends.

“This General election we have asked three individuals to share their stories and to ask questions of our political leaders about how certain issues are impacting their lives.

“By placing these stories at the centre of the political discussion, we remind ourselves that politics is more than parties and tribalism it is about the lives of individuals and, indeed all of us, as we seek to enable human flourishing, a world that is more like God intends it to be."

The second video features Rev Tamu Ina Maramba,30, from East Sumba, Indonesia talking about our environment

Question: “Care for the environment is essential for the future of us all. How is your party committed to nature and what will it do to ensure the future of our planet?”
https://youtu.be/tHUeiIcdBuQ

Kezia Dugdale, Leader of the Scottish Labour Party

A Labour government would place environmental protection at its heart.
The Tories’ hard Brexit will put hard-won environmental protections at risk – and destroy the cross-border cooperation that is so necessary to tackle this global problem.

Labour would seek a close relationship with the EU post-Brexit, focused on retaining the rights we enjoy as EU citizens, including environmental protections.
A Labour government would also ban onshore fracking across the UK.

Here in Scotland, we are pushing through a Member’s Bill that will ban onshore fracking in Scotland. The SNP has prevaricated on this issue – but Scottish Labour is forcing it to act.

The Green Party here in Scotland professes to be environmental, but is just as obsessed with driving through another divisive independence referendum as the SNP.

Instead, it is the Labour party in Scotland and across the UK that will stand up for the environment and deliver a government for the many and not the few.

Ruth Davidson, Leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Earlier this year, the Scottish Conservatives set out our approach to environmental policy in a comprehensive policy document covering the Circular Economy, Biodiversity, Energy, Homes and Transport. The Scottish Conservatives believe in protection and enhancing our natural heritage. We must do more than just repair damage, we must also improve our environment and leave Scotland a better place than we found it.

Our plans include establishing new national parks where there is local support, sourcing at least 50% of Scotland’s energy from renewables by 2030, encouraging regenerative farming, incentivising the uptake of electric vehicles and increasing the energy efficiency of our homes. Scotland had hear too many warm words and seen too much inaction when it comes to protecting our environment. Full details of our policy document can be accessed via the following link: Global Challenge Local Leadership

Willie Rennie, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Party

Eighteen months ago, it seemed that the world had come to a consensus on the need to take the perils of climate change seriously but with the election of Donald Trump in the US and Britain’s vote to leave the EU, the tides of isolationism and populism could halt or even reverse the progress that has been made.

The Conservatives have cut support for renewable energy and home insulation, sold off the Green Investment Bank and failed to control air pollution. Their actions put not just Britain’s environment at risk but the health of its citizens and its economy, undermining the increasingly successful green industries which already employ more than half a million workers.

Liberal Democrats are determined that we live up to our environmental obligations. That’s why we will pass five green laws at a UK level, all with benefits for Scotland: a Green Transport Act, a Zero-Carbon Britain Act, a Nature Act, a Green Buildings Act, and a Zero Waste Act to incorporate existing EU environmental protections, maintain product standards such as for energy efficiency, and establish a framework for continual improvement.

At over £1,200 a year, the cost of heating and lighting an average home in Scotland is too high. More than two million families across the UK cannot afford to heat their home properly.

Liberal Democrats will reduce energy bills permanently by improving home insulation and encouraging small-scale, community and local authority renewable schemes. We will make saving energy a top infrastructure priority, slashing energy bills and carbon emissions, creating thousands of jobs and helping end the fuel poverty crisis once and for all.

Nicola Sturgeon, Leader of the Scottish National Party

Scotland is a world leader in tackling climate change and the SNP is taking important steps to protect our natural environment. Under an SNP Scottish Government, Scotland has exceeded a world-leading target to reduce emissions by 42% by 2020 six years early. To ensure this positive action continues the SNP Scottish Government has produced a draft Climate Change Plan, with tougher targets for future years. At Westminster, the SNP will press the UK government to match Scotland’s commitment and ambition.

Scotland has a wealth of onshore and offshore renewable energy potential and more than 50% of Scotland’s electricity is now produced from renewables. The SNP, both in the Scottish Parliament and in Westminster, will continue to support renewable energy projects, pressing the UK Government to include onshore wind in its industrial strategy and demand an increased focus on offshore wind, tidal energy and wave power.

We recognise that fighting climate change and protecting our planet requires cohesive action across countries. The SNP will work to prevent Brexit being used by the UK Government as a reason to reduce commitments to tackle climate change or undermine the European Union’s efforts to fight climate change and protect the environment. Scotland has, and will continue to, play an important role in these areas. We are determined to safeguard the advances which have already been made, while continuing to protect and enhance our environment in the years ahead.

Patrick Harvie, Co-convener of the Scottish Green Party

The way human beings are living today is fundamentally unsustainable, and risks destroying the life support system we all depend on. Some of the impacts are now high profile issues, like climate change and ocean acidification. Others receive less attention, but from the degradation of habitats to the loss of soil fertility they are all having a profound effect on people, and on the other creatures we share the planet with.

The transition to a sustainable society, in which we aim at every generation to leave a healthier environment and a more secure life support system than we inherited, is the basic reason why the Green movement exists. That movement includes Green parties in many countries all around the world.

It should be clear to everyone that simply adding a few ‘environmental policies’ to a basically status quo political and economic system is entirely inadequate. Greens challenge the idea that everlasting economic growth can be achieved without everlasting exploitation of people and of the planet. The growth obsession also fails to measure what really matters – the things that actually contribute to our quality of life don’t always show up in the narrow economic measures that currently drive the policies of governments. There is so much opportunity from sustainable economics, from renewable energy that benefits whole communities instead of just big business, to healthier local food systems with animal welfare at their heart. But we will only realise those opportunities if we embrace the transition, instead of digging our heels in and pretending that the current fossil fuel economy will last forever.