Scottish Greens to vote on power-sharing deal with SNP

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The Scottish Greens are to vote on the future of their power-sharing agreement with the Scottish National party after the government dumped climate targets this week.

An emergency general meeting will be held “in due course”, the Greens said late on Friday, after an online meeting on Thursday evening was “oversubscribed with questions”.

Scotland’s climbdown on climate targets, which were described by former leader Nicola Sturgeon as world leading, has sparked fury among Green party members.

Màiri McAllan, wellbeing economy, net zero and energy secretary, on Thursday ditched the Scottish government’s statutory goal of reducing carbon emissions by 75 per cent by the end of the decade.

The Climate Change Committee, an independent body that advises the UK and devolved governments on emissions goals, said the target lacked credibility, with Scotland missing annual targets eight times in the past 12 years.

McAllan blamed opposition parties for blocking green policies intended to facilitate the goals and introduced other measures designed to increase the pace of climate action. The SNP retained the country’s aim of net zero emissions by 2045.

The Greens vote comes as the SNP reels from developments in the police investigation into its finances. On Thursday, Peter Murrell, the SNP’s former chief executive and Sturgeon’s husband, was arrested in connection with allegations of the embezzlement of funds.

Lorna Slater, the Greens co-leader, said “we have achieved more for people and [the] planet in the past 32 months than other parties have in decades”.

“Now we want to hear from our members on how they want us to continue this progress.”

Her co-leader, Patrick Harvie, said he would urge members to vote to remain in government, arguing that Scotland would cut emissions faster and build a fairer society with Green policies. “But only if we do the hard work of making change happen,” he said in a post on X.

On Thursday, Chas Booth, a Green councillor on Edinburgh council, on Thursday wrote to the party executive calling for a meeting to consider withdrawing from the 2021 Bute House Agreement, which hammered out the power-sharing deal between the SNP and Greens.

“Given today’s announcement, I’m forced to conclude our party is being used as a figleaf for the SNP’s woeful & inexcusable climate inaction,” he posted on X.

The Climate Change Committee last month said that the Scottish government had no comprehensive strategy to decarbonise to net zero and that the only sectors reducing emissions were electricity supply and industry. Important indicators of progress, such as tree planting, peatland restoration and heat pump installations remained off track, it added.  

In a statement to parliament, McAllan conceded that the 75 per cent target was no longer achievable. The government would introduce measures to accelerate action on climate change, including rolling out more electric vehicle charging points and a unified ticketing system for public transport, she said.

Earlier this month, Harvie, called for a “reset on climate policy” at the party’s spring conference in Edinburgh, saying targets should “never be treated as substitutes for action”.

The 2030 target was the “easy part” he said. The hard part was deciding how to change “the way we travel, the way we heat our homes, use our land and power our industries”.

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