News & Media
News and Media
Scottish Parliament. Photo: Adam Elder/Scottish Parliament
SEI gives evidence to the Scottish Parliament on economic growth and carbon emissions.
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A number of SEI research analyses have shown that economic growth is a strong driver for carbon emissions, and figures suggest that globally emissions continue to rise unchecked.
The Scottish government has been told to draft tougher climate change targets and to honour its manifesto promise to start cutting Scotland's emissions immediately by at least three per cent a year, or 42 per cent by 2020.
More ambitious targets require more active policy
In a meeting with the Scottish Parliamentary Committee on transport, infrastructure and climate change, SEI York Research Fellow John Barrett gave evidence on the links between shifts in the economy and carbon emissions.
Particularly interested in any possible impact the current recession will have had on emissions, the Committee wanted to know from Barrett whether it could use the current economic recession as a spur to propose even more ambitious emissions targets for the future.
- We must revise the targets in the UK and Scottish budgets up to 2022 to take the dip into account simply because the targets that are in place will not lead to the future that we need, to avoid some of the most dangerous consequences of climate change: a future in which the temperature does not rise more than 2°C. The current trajectory will not achieve that, but the recession reductions could give us an opportunity to realign and to take a cumulative greenhouse gas emission perspective to ensure that avoiding a future rise of 2°C is a real possibility, John Barrett said.
A clear link between spending and emissions
Barrett has previously explained how we can achieve sustainable development through improved production efficiency and change of product demand (see video below), and stressed the importance of reducing the expenditure in carbon-intensive sectors such as energy, a sector with one of the highest carbon intensities per pound spent in the economy.
- We have carried out such an analysis for the National Health Service. Focusing in particular on the pharmaceutical sector, which is not only one of the most carbon-intensive sectors but incurs great expenditure and great waste, the NHS has identified a whole list of expenditure savings that relate directly to greenhouse gas emissions and has come to an understanding of what expenditure means for such gases. Those kinds of opportunities exist all over, Barrett said, referring to an SEI project on calculating the carbon footprint of the UK National Health Service, Europe’s biggest single organization.
Barrett has also published a policy brief on the need for improved carbon accounting in Scotland, as well as a series of reports on the linkages between consumption and carbon emissions.
Read the entire transcript of the Scottish Parliamentary Committee meeting here.
John Barrett explains how we can acheive sustainable development through improved production efficiency and change of product demand: