Scottish Greens minister attacks Tories for supporting ‘climate denial’ policies
Scottish Greens minister Patrick Harvie has refused to condemn eco protesters such as Just Stop Oil.
The Dumbarton man also attempted to blame Westminster for his government’s environmental failures. He was fielding questions about Rishi Sunak’s net zero delays on BBC’s Sunday Show.
We previously told how analysis from the party suggested that at current speed Mr Harvie’s government would only have 30,000 chargers in place by 2042, 12 years after its self-imposed deadline.
Eco campaigners have been causing chaos throughout the UK and have interrupted a number of sporting and cultural events.
This includes delaying the Cycling World Championships, something the Scottish Greens welcomed. The Greens co-leader was condemned as “disgraceful” for his comments.
Mr Harvie actually stuck up for the campaigners as he was asked if people should break the law to promote change.
He said: “I have immense empathy with anyone who struggles with this question, and many people have found themselves effectively feeling disempowered and thinking that the only way they can take some power into their hands is to take part in direct action
“I’ll never condemn that. It should be peaceful direct action. I’ve taken part in peaceful direct action myself in the past. The only thing that is going to prevent people from taking ever more desperate action is the government bringing the urgency to this that it demands.
“The Scottish Government is determined to but we’re being held back by a UK government that is saying climate change is our next wedge issue in the next front in the culture war.”
He also accused the Tory party of promoting “climate denial” due to the net zero rollback. And he claimed that the car charging roll-out would be hampered by Rishi Sunak’s announcement, as he abdicated his own government from any blame.
He said: “You need not just public charging points. Which we have been rolling out, but you need all sorts of other organisations to start installing their own charging points as well. You need industry to invest and now without that sense of when policy change is coming when regulatory change is coming, why would they bother investing in the UK, given that lack of clarity?”
“Ofgem, that’s the UK energy regulator, makes decisions about where grid upgrades are going to happen, that’s for charging points, that’s for shifting to electricity for heating as well.
“There are all sorts of reasons around decarbonisation and why we need those grid upgrades, but it’s the UK that makes those decisions. The biggest missed opportunity in all of this is to change the way the energy market works around those grid upgrades.
“How do we pay for them, but also the pricing? At the moment, Scotland is generating this cheap, green abundant renewable electricity, but that cheapness of generation is not being passed on to billpayers because the UK sets an artificial link between the retail price of gas and electricity.
“With a Prime Minister who was genuinely committed to making Net Zero affordable for people, that’s the announcement he would have made last week, break the link between gas and electricity prices, you make zero emissions heating and electric transport more affordable.”
Scottish Conservative Shadow Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport, Douglas Lumsden, above, condemned Mr Harvie for his comments. He said: “It’s no wonder extremist protesters think they can get away with law-breaking, when these are the comments from a government minister.
“Publicity-seeking protests such as those witnessed at the World Cycling Championships, which came to Balloch and Dumbarton last month, are reckless and dangerous, often putting the life and limb of both protesters and the public at risk. It’s disgraceful and downright irresponsible for the Green minister to refuse to condemn disruptive and dangerous law-breaking, simply because it comes from hard-line climate activists.”
“People in Scotland are sick and tired of these childish stunts, and will be shocked by Patrick Harvie’s weak refusal to denounce these acts.”
- Despite their campaign to attract interest in the World Cycling Championships here in West Dunbartonshire and a council competition to encourage citizens including council employees in Church Street to cycle to work, a quick look around in Dumbarton reveals that neither the past SNP administration not the current Labour administration has made provision for parking bikes safety, but that there are more than a thousand spaces for parking cars and that there is a planning application currently going through for even more car parking at a proposed new ALDI supermarket across the street from the council offices in Castle Street/Church Street.