Democracy - Facing the Future?Graeme CookScottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe)@graemekcookUniversity of DundeeThursday 11 April 2013Scottish Parliament Information Centre logo.
Facing the FutureChange in future is likely to be morefundamental and more widespread thananything we have known hitherto. Change tothe sea around us, change to the atmosphereabove, leading in turn to change in the worldsclimate, which could alter the way we live in themost fundamental way of all.The evidence is there. The damage is beingdone. What do we, the internationalcommunity, do about it?
She also wrote in 2002“Whatever international action we agree uponto deal with environmental problems, wemust enable our economies to grow anddevelop, because without growth you cannotgenerate the wealth required to pay for theprotection of the environment.”
Parliament and Government• Completely different institutions– Governments govern– Parliaments legislate and scrutinise• Don’t let lazy journalists conflate the two– Westminster, Holyrood…
Scottish Parliament subjects and activities• Subjects - Health, environment, renewableenergy, economy, climate change,tourism, education, sustainabledevelopment, planning, transport,housing, rural affairs, fisheries, socialcare, criminal and civil justice…• Since devolution in 1999, continuous pathof more powers being devolved – 2014?• Activities - debates, committees,Parliamentary Questions
Resources• Governments have loads• Parliaments have a lot less• Most Parliaments around the world haveoffices like mine, the Scottish ParliamentInformation Centre (SPICe)• 25 researchers, 10 information specialists– Support the work of the committees– Answer enquiries from MSPs– Raise hot topics
Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009• Additional to/more ambitious than UK law• Scottish Government legislation• Detailed scrutiny undertaken by theScottish Parliament – considerablystrengthened the legislation• World leading targets– 42% reductions by 2020– 80% reductions by 2050– Includes international aviation and shipping• Includes rigorous reporting requirements
Delivering on this ambition?• 2010 – first Scottish annual target missed• 2011 – UK figures indicate emissions up –little headroom for Scotland• Government required to produce a draftPlan setting out how targets to be attained• Parliament scrutinises over 60 days andreports• Government publishes revised Plan• 2 plans so far (one currently in draft)
Scrutinising theGovernment’s Plans• Parliaments can find it tricky to considercross cutting issues• First plan in 2010 – 2 committees, reallyonly one had a real look• Second plan (2013) – 4 committees –more recognition of climate change as across cutting issue (also budget)
SPICe Support• Working with 4committees• Overall briefing• Identifyingwitnesses• Bespoke briefingsto committees• Lines ofquestioning
Parliaments findingsinclude…• Co-ordination of the climate changeagenda in the Scottish Government couldbe improved, and the Plan must change toreflect this• The Plan relies too heavily on more vagueproposals than actual policies• Plan relies on “additional abatementmeasures” too much• It is unclear what changes made to makeup for the missed 2010 target
Take home messages• Governments govern• Parliaments legislate and scrutinise• Parliament’s are (mostly) democraticallyelected• Therefore you should vote…• Parliaments and Governments don’toperate in vacuums• So get involved if you want change
Engagement• Get informed – what is happening in keygovernment departments or inParliament? Easy to find out (and they arelooking for solutions – do you have them?)• Respond to government consultations orparliamentary calls for evidence• Go and talk to your electedrepresentatives• Tell SPICe if you are doing some relevantwork! We rely on case studies