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Scotsman.com News - Scotland - Swinney assault on climate change 'long on hot air, short on substance'

SCOTLAND is to lead the world in action to combat climate change, cutting carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.

John Swinney, the Cabinet secretary for finance and sustainable growth, told the Scottish Parliament he was committed to an ambitious programme of cuts that would be an inspiration to the world and help to turn this country into "the green energy capital of Europe"....

Mr Swinney said the country was already feeling the effects of climate change "with, for example, increased frequency and intensity of rainfall"....

Cutting Scotland's carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 will depend to a large extent on actions outwith the control of Holyrood.

John Swinney, whose responsibilities include sustainable growth, suggested insulation was a first step ordinary people could take.

An estimated 4.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide - about 10 per cent of total emissions in 2004 - could be saved if every house in the country had a full energy-efficiency makeover.

A host of wind farms coming on stream by 2020 should make big inroads in reducing emissions. At the current rate of progress, 54 per cent of Scotland's electricity could come from renewables by 2020.

By 2030, emissions could be cut by up to 70 per cent through new climate-friendly technologies. Green taxes and a more extensive European carbon-trading scheme could also be brought in, while capturing and storing in old gas and oilfields could be used to deal with emissions from fossil-fuel power stations.

By 2050, hydrogen produced from renewable sources or clean coal could account for about a quarter of total energy use, fuelling cars and providing homes with electricity. Biofuels would also be commonplace....

The SNP fought the Scottish election on an anti-nuclear platform and has formed a parliamentary alliance with the Greens.

I suppose when the lights go out they will come running south of the border looking for help - if you are in Scotland, buy a generator and stockpile some fuel, it looks like it is going to be a long cold winter soon as you are driven back to the stone age.


Has anybody really done a calculation to see if all these promises are actually feasible?

This 54% of Scotland's energy coming from renewables statement, for example. Just how many windchimes will this require?

And as for fuelling cars with hydrogen. As far as I am aware, the process that turns water or coal into hydrogen requires an awful lot more energy per unit than can ever be generated by that unit.

And the biofuels he mentions. From my memories of Whacker Watson's geography lessons, Scotland is not blessed with limitless acres of farm land. And a lot of what it does have is actually not that good for growing plants, especially the oily ones that could supply a bio-diesel industry.

Of course Mr Swinney could sequester the land currently used to grow barley and convert the distilling industry to alco-fuel production. But if he did not only would he be screwing one of the largest sectors of his economy, but I guess his constuents might loose their enthusiasm for Nationalism rather quickly deprived as they would be of their favourite tipple.

Without some details of his plan, one does rather assume that Mr Swinney does not really propose clean energy self-sufficiency for Scotland. Rather one supposes he intends to export the dirty and unpleasant bits of a modern economy to other places. Now as a nasty capitalist bastard I have no problem with this, but it does seem strange for a supposed anti-imperialist to be espousing this sort of green-imperialism.

The Remittance Man asks:

"This 54% of Scotland's energy coming from renewables statement, for example. Just how many windchimes will this require?"

Answer: an infinite number, since windfarms have shown (in real-world, well-documented experience) that they do not save on any CO2 emissions, and in fact tend to increase total output of CO2 because backup generation must operate less efficiently (think of your vehicle emissions from stop-and-start city driving, versus from open-road driving), are totally unreliable, and serve only to funnel publicly supplied subsidy (ie, from your pockets and mine) into the bank accounts of developers, utilities and landowners.

Who ever said that the landed aristocracy's day in Scotland was over?

Denmark, the most heavily wind-farm nation in the world, manages to supply a mere 4% of its electricity from thousands of turbines--and they've concluded that these monstrosities are simply a gigantic boondoggle. And Denmark's emissions are still increasing.

Quite how the idiot Swinney thinks Scotland can do better than Denmark escapes me.

Scotland will need nukes--and if the moronic fools in power refuse to build such plants, Scotland will indeed slide into economic irrelevance.

These people are either criminally insane, or else playing a very deep and hypocritical game of 'appease the Greens' while knowing full well that nuke stations will be built regardless.

I opt for the 'criminally insane' excuse.

What a bunch of whacktards, it's the coming ice-age we should be worrying about! They'll be tunneling through the peat-bogs for sure when the temperature drops.

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