SNP MEP Goes To Copenhagen

16 December 2009

"Share Scotland's ambition, COP-15 can't be a COP-OUT"

Scottish National Party Member of the European Parliament Alyn Smith is today (Wednesday) leaving the plenary session of the Parliament in Strasbourg a day early to go to Copenhagen to join colleagues in lobbying the COP-15 climate change conference to urge delegates to share Scotland's ambition and deliver a binding, transparent, ambitious and properly funded climate change deal.

The MEP last week circulated a briefing paper outlining Scotland's real action in delivering action on all aspects of the climate change agenda to all MEPs and European parliament staff, as well as all ambassadors and heads of mission of the international community in Brussels to make them aware of the role Scotland has played, and could play as a normal independent state.

Smith, nominated as Politician of the Year in Scotland's Green Energy Awards 2009, was active on the energy agenda as an alternate member of the Parliament's Energy Committee in the 2004-09 mandate, pushing, successfully, for ambitious EU targets in energy efficiency and promoting renewable energy which resulted in the "202020 by 2020" package successfully adopted. He has also pushed for both equitable aid and trade policies which protect the developing world as well as promote fair trade and trade justice. All these agendas collide in the talks at Copenhagen.

Speaking from Strasbourg, Smith said:

"It was initially inspiring to see a progressive northern European country, Denmark, take such a leading role in gathering the world to its capital, with so many countries smaller than Scotland take their seats in the hall to commence talks. This has turned to continuing admiration for the heroic efforts the Danes are making to hold things together, but overshadowed by a dark frustration at Scotland's relegation by a spiteful UK government to the fringes of proceedings when we have proven, we have demonstrated by our actions, that we have more to offer the talks than most. When I marched through Glasgow last week with thousands of other Scots demanding a decent deal I promised I would do my best, I can't do that from a distance.

"Scotland's five and a bit million people have been blessed with the world's best energy resources, from old but still vital technologies in coal, oil and gas to current and developing tecnhnologies in wind, hydro, biomass, and the glittering future technologies of biofuels, tidal and wave and photovoltaic technologies. Our energy resources are right now creating real jobs in the real economy, as well as reducing emissions. We have in the Scottish Climate Change Act the world's most ambitious legislation on climate change, supported by all Scottish parties. We have a massive national stake in these talks, and a massive contribution to make. It issimply shaming that we have been relegated to the fringes because of our unworthy constitutional status. I was proud to see our First Minister signing a co-operation agreement between Scotland and the Maldives, one of the world's states most in danger if these talks do not deliver. That is the attitude and the spirit we would bring, this is not a zero sum game.

"I have few illusions about what I can do from the fringes of the conference, but along with the other MEPs present we form a pretty broad church of countries and politics, so we can share information better than most and I'll be keeping an eye on the actions of the UK delegation. I applauded the UK commitment on aid earlier this week, and will continue to give credit where it is due, but we could do better. Meantime, I have a good Scots tongue in my head and will certainly be doing all I can to see the conference share Scotland's ambition, I am taking plenty copies of the briefing with me. From my experience of talks like these before, albeit on a much smaller scale with only 27 states involved, much of the real bargaining will take place in the margins, the coffee bars and the meetings outside the meeting. I'll be there doing what I can."