I’ve always wondered why it is that people need to fly all over the world to talk about man-made climate change, and whether or not you believe in it, people are doing that all the time.
It doesn’t particularly interest me normally, but this time it is the Scottish parliament which is sending 4 MSPs and 2 officials to America, in fact to Boston, New York and Washington DC to “highlight” the dangers of climate change, whatever that means. This is a non party thing. The presiding officer is going, along with members from the SNP, the Labour Party and the Tories. Whether the Liberals didn’t want to go, or just weren’t asked remains to be answered.
The total cost of this exercise, supposedly connected with tartan week in the USA, is thought to be in the region of £30,000, given that the MSPs, officials are travelling club class.
According to the Scotsman they ‘will focus on the three key areas of climate change, sustainable transport and opportunities around the green economy’. What expertise in these matters any of the visitors had is also not known.
MSP Robin Harper (Greens) said: "For this cross-party Holyrood delegation to be jetting off on a jolly to multiple US cities in order to fact-find on issues relating to sustainability and the environment is ever so slightly ridiculous and largely unnecessary.” He also pointed out, not unreasonably, that if sustainability was the name of the game then the USA was perhaps not the best place to go to learn more.
I agree. We already have three ministers going to America for Tartan week, that’s fair enough. We need to make a good impression there. Trade and tourism depends upon it. But there is no need to have other members of parliament there. The rest of us are belt tightening, and parliament should be too. Easter jollies should be a thing of the past.
Pictures: Transport in Boston and Washington not looking overly sustainable to me.