A couple of newspaper reports caught my eye this morning regarding goings-on in Scotland. The firsti was in the Scottish edition of the Daily Telegraph:

Nicola Sturgeon ‘better off moving out of government HQ’ than making it go green – Report reveals that her policy of replacing gas boilers at St Andrew’s House with eco-friendly ones would not provide value for money

In a delicious irony, making a mockery of the Scottish government’s “green” plans, it turns out (according to the Daily Telegraph) that St Andrew’s House in Edinburgh, currently heated by gas central heating, cannot efficiently be converted to a low emissions system of the type that the Scottish government demands be put in place by home owners and in offices by 2030. Instead, the government has been advised to consider selling the property and moving out, given the difficulties of justifying a spend of almost £5.8 million for the conversion.

The Telegraph article is based on a report commissioned by the Scottish government and obtained under a Freedom of Information Act (FOI) request. That report apparently says that “direct electrical heating will incur hugely disproportionate running costs” compared to gas, thanks to the building’s size.

This all begs the question, of course, of who would be rich enough (or stupid enough) to buy St Andrew’s House, should the Scottish government take on board the advice, and put the building up for sale. Presumably any purchaser would have to incur the “disproportionate running costs” from no later than 2030.

Further, the article reminds us that:

More than a million homes must be converted to “zero emissions heat” by the end of the decade to meet the country’s greenhouse gas targets, under the Scottish Government’s Heat in Buildings strategy.

Legislation is to be introduced requiring the “installation of zero or very near zero emissions heating systems”, with the new standard to be phased in for off-gas grid areas from 2025 and on-gas grid areas from 2030.

All buildings are to be converted to “zero emissions” by 2045 at a total cost of £33 billion. However, the SNP-Green coalition has so far announced only £1.8 billion of support, raising fears that homeowners and businesses will have to meet the vast bulk of the cost.

Good luck with that.

SNP minister’s A9 upgrade visit kept quiet during ‘climate week’

The second articleii appeared in The Courier, under the above headline. Again, this story appears as a result of a FOI request. SNP ministers are not normally known to be shrinking violets when it comes to headlines and limelight, but when the road contractors responsible for major upgrade works on one of Scotland’s main north-south road links sought some publicity on completion of the project, for once they found the SNP government less than co-operative. And why should that be? Because it conflicted with all the “green” publicity they were busily drumming up around COP 26.

According to the Courier:

Documents released under freedom of information laws reveal officials feared “negative comment” and a perception of “conflicting priorities” if they publicised the event. ..

…A series of events were planned by contractors in September to underline the community benefits from the completion and opening of the £96 million upgrade of the A9 section between the Inveralmond roundabout in Perth and the Pass of Birnam.

Transport Minister Graeme Dey was invited to attend, but memos show officials were concerned about the timing, and said the press should be kept away.

In a briefing prepared for the minister, they said: “We are aware that the Scottish Government Climate Week 2021 is being held 13-19 September and there are plans for the Cabinet secretary for net zero, energy and transport to deliver a parliamentary update during the same week that sets out the scale of the challenge and an indicative pathway to reducing transport emissions by 75% to 2030.

We recommend therefore that the event is undertaken as a closed call to minimise the risk of attracting negative comment given the potential perception of conflicting priorities between promoting the benefits of a new road project in the same week as the focus on sustainability/climate change.”

The note added: “The footage/images captured during the event will be used for a subsequent press release and social media updates to promote the success of the community benefits delivered by the project which will be released at an appropriate time following the visit.”

This all strikes me as rather Machiavellian and sinister. The press are to be kept away, because the timing is bad. But when the timing is better, it is to be milked for all it’s worth. And who is making this call? Supposedly non-political civil servants.

Homeless charity feeds 55,000 this year in Glasgow as fuel poverty brings more hungry kids to service

Meanwhile, it was reportediii (under the above headline) just three days ago that:

A homeless charity has handed 55,000 hot meals to the needy in Scotland’s biggest city in the last year…

…bitter temperatures and rising energy bills have also brought more children to the service in recent months, with a spike in parents struggling with fuel poverty…

…“Right now we have lots of children coming with their families and we’re seeing parents who are choosing whether to heat their house or feed their kids…

In some respects, of course, England is no better, but the Scottish government for some time has seemed hell-bent on pursuing a “green” agenda that is anything but, and which is having a disastrous impact on so many aspects of life in Scotland. Whatever madness English politicians and climate zealots seek to introduce, Scotland, it seems, must always trump them, running harder and faster to leap off the cliff. And with a new SNP/Green coalition, things can only get worse, I’m sure.

RIP Scotland. It was nice knowing you.

Endnotes

i https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2021/12/27/nicola-sturgeon-better-moving-government-hq-making-go-green/

ii https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/politics/scottish-politics/2848890/snp-ministers-a9-upgrade-kept-quiet-during-climate-week/

iiihttps://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/homeless-charity-feeds-55000-this-year-in-glasgow-as-fuel-poverty-brings-more-hungry-kids-to-service/ar-AAS89Ld

23 Comments

  1. It sounds like the people of Scotland are beginning to experience the logical outcome of believing in something as illogical as the “climate crisis”.

    Like

  2. I especially liked the bit that coyly referred to ‘perception of conflicting priorities’. The conflict is not a perception but a reality, and what is needed is management of reality rather than management of perception.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. John, thank you for drawing that point out. It occurred to me as I was writing, and I meant to return to it. No harm done, though, thanks to you. 😊

    Like

  4. Quote: “In some respects, of course, England is no better,…”

    Of course. The problem of converting many more homes, for both heating and cooking, has simply not been addressed, still less honestly & openly discussed with those whom it will affect, i.e. the public (because the elite in charge will always manage to take care they don’t suffer from whatever foolishness they impose on the rest of us).

    When the penny finally drops all round, there will be hell to pay as well as weeping and gnashing of teeth (can I squeeze any more metaphors into the mix?) Not to mention having all their internal combustion vehicles taken off them (or left to rot) and forced to buy incredibly expensive,exotic-resource-consuming EV’s with a poor range, or potentially explosive hydrogen vehicles, or more likely, just priced out of the private vehicle market altogether.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. And today’s Daily Telegraph, Scottish edition, has another similar story, this time about Bute House (The First Minister’s official residence). Even though it’s leased by the Scottish government from the National Trust, the taxpayer is to foot the £800,000+ bill for converting it from gas to electric heating, it appears.

    Like

  6. “Thousands of Scots already struggling to afford energy bills ahead of price hike
    More than a third of Scots are already struggling to pay heating bills ahead of a price cap rise in April.”

    https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/thousands-scots-already-struggling-afford-26026556

    “One in three Scots are already finding their energy bills unaffordable, a poll has found just weeks ahead of an announcement which could see rates soar.

    Some 36% of people say their energy bills are unaffordable, a survey for Citizens Advice Scotland (Cas) by YouGov found.

    Kate Morrison, the charity’s fair markets spokeswoman, said: “With one in three people finding their energy bills unaffordable, lots of us are struggling with soaring bills.

    “But it’s significant that hundreds of thousands of people would identify their home being hard to heat as a reason why they are finding bills unaffordable.”

    Rate payers across the country are facing soaring bills, with the energy price cap expected to rise in April. An announcement on the new level of the cap is expected early next month, with fears bills could go up by as much as 50%.”

    Like

  7. Under the SNP, I fear that Scotland has turned into a banana republic:

    “Humza Yousaf denies ferries contract was awarded for political purposes”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-60886637

    “A Scottish government minister has denied claims a £97m contract to build two ferries was awarded for “political purposes”.

    Humza Yousaf said he did not agree with the assessment of Jim McColl, who owned the yard which won the contract.

    The ferries will be five years late and could cost more than £250m – the additional costs will have to be picked up by the taxpayer.

    It follows the publication of a damning report by Audit Scotland into the saga.

    The watchdog was unable to establish why the order was given to the Ferguson shipyard without normal financial safeguards.

    Official documents show several former and current ministers were involved in the decision to award the contract.”

    Here’s the Audit Scotland report:

    https://www.audit-scotland.gov.uk/news/multiple-failings-have-led-to-delays-and-cost-overruns-which-continue-to-obstruct-delivery-of

    “Major problems remain unresolved at the shipyard constructing two lifeline ferries for Scottish islands. More than two years after the Scottish Government took over control of the shipyard, significant operational failures still need to be fully resolved and further remedial work on the vessels continues to be uncovered.

    The project to deliver Vessels 801 and 802 for the Clyde and Hebrides has been beset with delays and spiralling costs. The ferries are now almost four years late, with no certainty on when they will be complete. The total cost of the project is currently estimated to be at least £240 million, around two and a half times the original contract price. These issues have frustrated island communities and weakened resilience across Scotland’s ferry network.

    Scottish ministers approved the contract award to Ferguson Marine Engineering Limited (FMEL) in October 2015, despite significant risks caused by FMEL’s inability to provide mandatory refund guarantees and the severe misgivings of Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL). There is insufficient evidence to explain why Scottish ministers made this decision.

    As the project progressed, delays, costs, and a contract dispute between CMAL and FMEL, escalated. Despite CMAL and the Scottish Government intervening to support the project, FMEL entered administration in August 2019, with the Scottish Government bringing the shipyard into public ownership.

    Stephen Boyle, Auditor General for Scotland, said:

    The failure to deliver these two ferries, on time and on budget, exposes a multitude of failings. A lack of transparent decision-making, a lack of project oversight, and no clear understanding of what significant sums of public money have achieved. And crucially, communities still don’t have the lifeline ferries they were promised years ago.

    The focus now must be on overcoming significant challenges at the shipyard and completing the vessels as quickly as possible. Thoughts must then turn to learning lessons to prevent a repeat of problems on future new vessel projects and other public sector infrastructure projects.”

    Like

  8. I think this shows that the SNP windbags are finding out that actual government is harder than it looks, i.e. when real things have to be done, like building ships. Bit more difficult than expending hot air on how wicked the English government is (although they are experts at that, I’ll give them that).

    Like

  9. “Sturgeon lobbying London firms over ‘willingness’ to fund net zero policies”

    https://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/20090521.nicola-sturgeon-lobbying-london-firms-willingness-fund-net-zero-policies/

    “NICOLA Sturgeon has lobbied London financial heavyweights to help plug a £31 billion funding gap to decarbonise Scotland’s buildings in just eight years’ time.

    The First Minister has admitted she would back her Government and UK ministers jointly drawing up “green new deals” potentially worth billions of pounds to help Scotland’s biggest cities clean up how buildings are heated by 2030.”

    Unfortunately the rest is behind a paywall, but those 2 paragraphs are enough to see what a mess the policy is. Comments are totally hostile to the SNP and their policies. This offers a flavour of them:

    “Why do these scientifically illiterate clowns persist with this net zero rubbish. Attempting to achieve it will be financially ruinous and will leave people with a much lower quality of life. Perhaps Harvie and has gang of eco crazies think a modern economy can run on sunbeams and puffs of wind, but China, India and the rest of Asia do not. They are building hundreds of new coal fired power stations to supply cheap secure electricity.”

    Like

  10. “Use £700million windfall to protect Scotland from ‘green lairds’, says ex government minister
    A former government minister has called on the SNP to use a recent £700 million windfall to buy-up land across Scotland to protect it from the new “green lairds”.”

    https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/politics/scottish-politics/4205300/use-700million-windfall-to-protect-scotland-from-green-lairds-says-ex-government-minister/

    “Peter Peacock also wants a Holyrood inquiry amid claims the super-rich are being handed a “licence to print money” through tax breaks and subsidies on offer to cut carbon emissions.

    He fears these incentives are supporting a “dark market” of secret land deals at eye-watering prices, as businesses seek to greenwash their operations.

    The former Labour education minister said the Scottish Government could ensure communities benefit from their local land by using the £700 million windfall raised during the recent ScotWind seabed sell-off to purchase estates across the nation.

    The move would establish a “sovereign wealth fund” of land.”

    That would be the sell-off at giveaway prices – much lower prices than south of the border.

    Like

  11. “Failure on climate change would be catastrophic, says Sturgeon”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-61457983

    “First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will issue a warning over climate change targets during a trip to the United States later.

    She will warn that failure to meet targets agreed at the COP26 summit in Glasgow would be “catastrophic” for the planet.

    The first minister will also say the world “looks very different” in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

    And she will predict it may result in a Europe-wide rethink on energy policy.”

    This looks like two bites of the cherry reporting from the BBC. Sturgeon “will say” this, Sturgeon “will say” that. No doubt there’ll be another report in more or less the same terms, once she’s said it. Still, look on the bright side, if she’s in the US and not Scotland, then given the SNP’s appalling track record in government, the damage might be minimised while she’s away.

    Like

  12. Delusional thinking and levelling-down on the agenda, apparently:

    “Sturgeon: Renewables could form basis of Scots economy”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-63195532

    Scotland could establish a sustainable new economy based on renewable energy if it becomes independent, Nicola Sturgeon is to claim.

    The first minister will set out details of her economic prospectus during her SNP conference speech in Aberdeen.

    She will tell delegates that Scotland’s “massive renewable energy resources” could form the basis of a new system…

    …She will promise not to lift her government’s effective ban on fracking, and will paint renewable energy as the potential basis for a whole new system.

    She will say: “Our economic prospectus will set out how we can build a new, sustainable economy based on our massive renewable energy resources.

    “It will show how in an independent Scotland, we can deliver lower energy prices and stronger security of supply.

    “With independence we will show how we can break with the low productivity, high inequality Brexit-based UK economy – and use the full powers of independence to build an inclusive, fair wellbeing economy that works for everyone.”..

    I love Scotland, and have just returned from an enjoyable (if wet) hill-walking trip there, but I’m very glad that I don’t live there. Being able to see Scotland from the first floor of our house will do nicely for now.

    Like

  13. There’s more:

    Tayside transport bosses are considering backing road charges as they work to meet climate change targets, says The Courier. The paper says the Tayside and Central Scotland Transport Partnership (Tactran) have warned that a “business as usual” approach will not deliver on key Scotland-wide targets to reduce the number of kilometres people drive by 20% in less than eight years.

    It’s in the Courier, but I found it here at the BBC website:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-63154602

    Like

  14. Mark – you have to wonder how many Scottish people are aware that “Mark Speed” is planning to slow them to a stop.

    ps – thought we still used miles, but the link uses Kilometers?
    wonder how they plan to check how far people have travelled!!!

    sometimes you just have to shake your head.
    consultation at this point, but wonder how Speed tried to sell his plans –
    “aye we need ta save the planet an that, 8yrs isny long, so get on yr bike.

    Like

  15. You almost couldn’t make some of this stuff up:

    “Scotland’s ‘green’ ferry to begin service using diesel fuel”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-63445479

    One of the ferries in a controversial Scottish government contract will initially only operate on diesel – despite being built to also run with liquefied natural gas (LNG).

    The Glen Sannox is one of two delayed and overbudget dual-fuel vessels.

    Builder Ferguson Marine has told MSPs a “technical issue” had delayed part of the LNG system by at least nine months.

    The vessel was once hailed as a step towards a greener future for Scotland’s state-owned CalMac ferry fleet.

    The technical issue relates to delays in the supply of sensors needed for the LNG fuel system.

    The yard is now proposing the Glen Sannox runs only on diesel until the LNG sensors can be fitted next summer…

    …Advocates of LNG argue that it is less harmful to the environment than traditional marine fuels such as oil or diesel.

    However, this does not take into account greenhouse emissions during extraction and transport of the gas.

    Scottish Conservative transport spokesman Graham Simpson said: “This revelation just adds to the shambles around the building of this vessel, which was supposed to be climate-friendly.

    “Surely it was known these sensors would be needed but now we are going to be left with a gas guzzling, climate-busting ferry for at least the first nine months of its service.”

    “No doubt this will also increase the already spiralling cost of the Glen Sannox.”

    The two vessels being built by Ferguson Marine, Glen Sannox and the unnamed Hull 802, will be more than £150m over budget and five years late when eventually delivered….

    …A spokesperson for CMAL said: “It is disappointing that there will be a delay to the commissioning of LNG on Glen Sannox, however it is still our intention to commission the LNG tanks for both Glen Sannox and Hull 802.”

    A Scottish government spokesman said it had been informed of the LNG issue.

    He added: “Ministers are seeking urgent options on the next steps and expect all possible measures to be taken to deliver the vessel to serve islanders as soon as possible.”

    Like

  16. “The Highland haven insulated from rising energy prices”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-63402811

    Hmm. Sort of. Hydro is the renewable power source that makes most sense, IMO, but there’s always the issue of cost.

    Scotland’s last great wilderness seems an unlikely haven from the energy crisis gripping the nation.

    Knoydart is one of the most rugged and remote parts of the British Isles, accessible only by boat or via a two-day hike through glacier-sculpted glens and mountains.

    Life on this stunning slice of land between Loch Nevis and Loch Hourn in the west highlands can be tough, especially with winter approaching.

    But the 120 inhabitants of Knoydart have one huge advantage over the rest of the country – a body of water nestled out of sight high above the village of Inverie.

    It is called Loch Bhraomisaig and from here water gushes at 129 litres per second down a big pipe to a turbine which powers a post office, primary school, private homes and more.

    …Knoydart, though, is different – so remote that it is not connected to the National Grid, meaning prices here are not dictated by the wholesale cost of more expensive forms of energy such as gas.

    The 280kW hydroelectric scheme is run by a community trust called Knoydart Renewables….

    …Among those grateful for the plentiful supply of renewable power is Knoydart’s forester Grant Holroyd. He says recent upgrades to the hydro’s capacity have enabled the community to invest in an electric sawmill, an electric timber-drying kiln and an electric planer.

    “We’ve just got the tractor to decarbonise now,” he says with a smile….

    …Sam says the hydro scheme is “critical” because “we know we’ll be able to keep the lights on and keep the beer coming”….

    …Knoydart Renewables plans to extend its network after having completed a £2.7m upgrade, part funded by a £2.4m Scottish government grant along with financial assistance from the Knoydart Foundation and Perth-based energy giant, SSE.

    Bills may eventually rise a little to maintain the infrastructure admits Mr Atherley but he insists the increases will be nothing like those the rest of the country is enduring.”

    Of course not every community has the resources to set up its own hydroelectric scheme but Mr Atherley argues that the community trust model could be replicated in some other parts of the country….

    That £2.7m upgrade” works out at £22,500 per inhabitant. Assuming, say, 2.5 residents per household, it’s £56,250 per household.

    I have visited Knoydart twice, for a week’s holiday on each occasion, while climbing its Munros, Corbetts, and its Marilyn, and I arrived by diesel boat, as does pretty much everything that reaches Knoydart. It’s not so “green” as the BBC puff piece makes out. Being protected against rising energy prices is great, but it helps if you have a taxpayer-funded sugar daddy to the tune of £50,000+ per household.

    Like

  17. “‘Take to the skies’: Scot Gov agency proposes more and cheaper flights to help ferry fiasco-hit islanders”

    https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/homenews/23105161.take-skies-scot-gov-agency-proposes-cheaper-flights-help-ferry-fiasco-hit-islanders/

    A Scottish Government agency has proposed that more travelling islanders be moved from the seas to the skies as investigations continue into how to overcome the unreliability of the lifeline ferry fleet.

    Highlands and Islands Enterprise, which has provided £15,000 of public money to allow a group of islanders investigate taking routes off state-controlled ferry operator CalMac has indicated that aircraft could help take the strain to support islanders fed up with lifeline service disruption, by laying on extra flights and making them cheaper.

    Like

  18. “Scotland loses UK climate change lead, advisers warn”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-63872365

    Scotland has lost its lead over the rest of the UK on tackling climate change, advisers have warned.

    A report from the Climate Change Committee (CCC) said progress on cutting greenhouse gas emissions has “largely stalled” in recent years.

    Its independent assessment said Scotland’s targets – some of the toughest in the world – were “increasingly at risk”…

    …The latest CCC report points out that since its Climate Change Act became law in 2009, the Scottish government has failed to achieved seven of the 11 legal targets.

    Although it met the latest one, for 2020, it said that was because the Covid pandemic saw a temporary drop in transport emissions and that the figures will rebound in future years…

    …The CCC report recommends lowering the annual targets so that the 2025 aim would be to reduce emissions by 61.7% rather than 65.5%.

    The report describes the target to cut emissions by 75% by 2030 as “extremely challenging” and suggests a 65% to 67% cut is more feasible.

    It said the Scottish government lacked a clear delivery plan and had not offered a coherent explanation for how its policies would achieve the targets…

    All that money, all that hype, all that destruction of Scotland’s environment, and they’re failing, even in their own terms. Not that success would “tackle climate change” as suggested by the article, given that Scotland must be responsible for less than 0.1% of human greenhouse gas emissions globally.

    Like

  19. Here’s the Guardian’s take on that story:

    “Sturgeon told Scotland’s climate targets are ‘in danger of being meaningless’
    Committee on Climate Change says nation is highly likely to miss 2030 carbon reduction goals because of lack of plans to reach them”

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/dec/07/sturgeon-told-scotlands-climate-targets-are-in-danger-of-being-meaningless

    The CCC’s latest report repeats many of last year’s criticisms but this time warns the first minister there is an “urgent need” for a dramatically accelerated and detailed strategy to get closer to meeting the 2030 targets.

    Hitting that target was now “extremely challenging”. Emissions only dropped in 2020 because of the Covid crisis; as things stand, Scotland’s emissions would probably fall by 65% to 67%, leaving the country up to 8 megatonnes of CO2-equivalent short of its legally binding 75% target.

    It also reported that if the climate impacts of Scotland’s consumption of imported goods and energy was included, the rates were 22% higher a head in Scotland than the UK average, at 13 tCO2e a person in 2018.

    It found that:

    Despite pledging to stop the sales of all petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, sales of electric cars in Scotland had fallen behind England.
    Scotland’s plans to rapidly decarbonise heating in buildings “were still wholly inadequate” despite recent funding increases.
    Scottish ministers were failing to tackle high levels of meat and dairy consumption, key causes of CO2 emissions from farming.
    Scotland was meeting only half its target to restore 20,000 hectares (50,000 acres) of peatland a year.
    Scottish ministers were failing to work collaboratively with other UK governments on shared climate strategies.
    Colin Smyth, Scottish Labour’s net zero spokesperson, said the report left the Scottish government’s “empty rhetoric in tatters. On the three biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions – transport, heat in buildings, and land use – the report card on the Green SNP government is a resounding fail, fail, fail.”

    Matheson said the CCC’s report was “a timely reminder of the scale of the challenge faced by government, industry and civil society”, and said it would influence the government’s forthcoming climate strategy.

    He insisted the government knew it had to dramatically step up its action. It was spending £1.8bn on decarbonising buildings, on renewables and on free buses for under-22s. “We are now entering the most challenging part of the journey to date, with a need to halve our emissions again within the next eight years,” he said.

    Reality bites. The low-hanging fruit has long since been picked, now it becomes difficult and ever-more expensive.

    As for “Scotland was meeting only half its target to restore 20,000 hectares (50,000 acres) of peatland a year”, it’s a pity they’re ripping up peat ever faster as they approve more and more windfarms in environmentally inappropriate locations. Utterly incoherent.

    Like

  20. “What could 2023 hold for Scottish politics?”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-64108137

    …An updated Climate Change Plan has also been promised, in a bid to hit the government’s ambitious targets for net-zero carbon emissions by 2045.

    A key part of that will be debated in the coming days. MSPs are due to sign off a new planning framework in January which will prioritise environmentally-friendly applications such as wind farms and other renewable energy projects…

    Environmentally friendly? Who are you kidding?

    Like

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