IN the second instalment in our series asking the Dumbarton constituency’s seven Scottish Parliament election candidates for their views on the key campaign issues, we’re asking for their views on the climate emergency facing Scotland and the world and what their environmental priorities would be if they’re elected.

Climate change has never been higher up the political agenda, and with the COP26 conference due to be held in Glasgow later this year, it’s set to remain that way for some time to come.

Voters in Helensburgh and Lomond, and in villages, towns and cities across the country, go to the polls on Thursday, May 6 to elect 129 MSPs to represent them in Holyrood for the next five years.

Next week the Advertiser’s election spotlight turns to the constitutional issues facing Scotland, and in the final instalment, to be published in our April 29 edition, a week before polling day, the focus will move to education.

Email editorial@helensburgh with your priorities, and your views on the candidates’ thoughts.

READ MORE: Dumbarton candidates have their say on health

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Jonathan Rainey - Scottish Libertarian Party

Helensburgh Advertiser: Jonathan RaineyJonathan Rainey

AS somebody who voluntarily litter picks in this area (and works pretty darned hard at it) and who has taken part in public litter picks including beach litter picks, I greatly understand the issues at hand with the environment, especially with regards to waste pollution.

However, it is my view that forced government interference (in particular reference to the United Nations’ Agenda 2030), including the banning of barbecues, wood stoves and petrol and diesel powered vehicles, will not help to solve the problems at hand and will only lead to more bad than good outcomes.

As a libertarian, I feel that it is best for the free market to come up with good innovations to help solve the problems around climate change – and over time the customer will pick the best solution to save the planet.

Subsidies of any kind should not be given to any kind of energy company and regulations around what energy source you use should be loosened.

READ MORE: Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross talks to the Advertiser

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Andrew Muir - Independent

Helensburgh Advertiser: Andrew MuirAndrew Muir

CONSUMER use has had a great effect on the climate, e.g. the large number of people who own plastic items like mobile phones and computers.

There are also political issues as China, the world’s biggest polluter, missed a recent UK meeting whilst Donald Trump has described climate change as a hoax.

In Brazil there has been large clearing of the Amazon rainforest while in Scotland if you vote for the Green Party then you have automatically voted for independence.

Tidying up the area locally will culture an increased respect for the environment. Boats on the River Leven are looking somewhat dilapidated and the failure to empty bins contributed to the Cameron House fire.

We should tackle the car problem. The Sinclair C5 was a good idea in the 1980s but people seem to prefer large gas guzzlers. We must make it much more economically viable to use electric cars, bicycles, trams and other public transport instead.

There should also be some reduction of air travel and meat consumption to reduce carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere.

READ MORE: Scottish Liberal Democrats leader Willie Rennie talks to the Advertiser

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James Morrison - Independent

Helensburgh Advertiser: James MorrisonJames Morrison

THE current green zero emissions policy has no real relevance on everyday life and is meaningless for local residents.

We need to focus on green energy improvements and technological advances to reduce carbon. This would improve the lives of people by providing better housing, cheaper electricity and better travel infrastructure.

It’s my position that by 2035, all new buildings must produce 150 per cent of the energy they need for heating, lighting and cooking. They must collect 100 per cent of non-drinking water, and they must store three days of power usage. Homes that cannot meet these requirements should be demolished and new ones built.

Retro-fitting air source heat pumps as a heating source into old houses means houses will never be warm enough when the outside temperature drops below three degrees centigrade; this is zero carbon at a cost to quality of life for residents.

All new vehicles must be zero emissions by 2025, with a free fast charge infrastructure as homes will be feeding the energy network, and Scotland must be self-sufficient in food production by 2030.

Full financial incentives must be available to make this happen.

READ MORE: Opinion - 'It's important we all have our say on A83 route options'

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Toni Giugliano - Scottish National Party

Helensburgh Advertiser: Toni GiuglianoToni Giugliano

SCOTLAND has the most ambitious legal framework for emissions reduction in the world. Our aim in the SNP is to achieve a 75 per cent cut by 2030 and to transition to net zero by 2045.

We’ll move away from high emissions heating systems in our homes, such as gas boilers, to low emission systems such as heat pumps. This will also create green jobs and tackle fuel poverty.

We’ll phase out the sale of new diesel and petrol cars by 2032. Scotland’s rail services will be decarbonised by 2035. And we’ll lead an active travel revolution with £500 million investment.

But we must also absorb carbon out of the atmosphere that’s already there.

Despite the pandemic, Scotland planted 22 million trees last year – more than 80 per cent of all the new trees planted in the UK during 2020.

While Brexit has given the UK an excuse to water down environmental protection, the SNP government is keeping Scotland in line with EU environmental standards.

If elected I’ll stand up for our green spaces and National Park, support local food growth strategies, and champion emerging green jobs.

READ MORE: Letters to the Advertiser: April 15, 2020

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Andy Foxall - Scottish Liberal Democrats

Helensburgh Advertiser: Andy FoxallAndy Foxall

THERE'S now real urgency for strong policies to tackle the climate emergency. Scotland’s ambitious target of a 75 per cent cut in emissions by 2030 was a result of work from the Liberal Democrats.

We will declare a nature emergency and foster biodiversity, using nature to fight climate change, by restoring peatlands and woodlands. It’s vital we plant more trees, with plenty more around where people live. Liberal Democrats will create new national parks in places that the local community supports.

We must establish a system of agricultural support that helps farmers to protect and restore the natural environment, while they work in producing food we need and rural jobs. We’ll ensure that Scotland gets a good share of the green economy initiatives launched by the UK Government last year.

We will support green hydrogen power and green electricity development, so that they replace the use of fossil fuels for heating, roads, ferries and aviation.

We would undertake a national programme for warm homes, which will reduce fuel poverty and cut our carbon emissions.

READ MORE: All the latest Helensburgh and Lomond headlines

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Maurice Corry - Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Helensburgh Advertiser: Maurice CorryMaurice Corry

FOR many years Scotland has relied heavily for its energy needs on oil, which is too expensive and too dirty to continue with going forward.

We need renewable and cleaner energy. Scotland should be in a strong position to make the most out of energy generated through wind, solar and wave power.

Sadly, however, not enough investment has been injected into these sectors over the past decade, so we are falling behind.

This is an area I’m fascinated with, and in fact I tried to attract Tesla to Dumbarton as green energy is an area I believe is the future.

It is not just green energy that affects climate change, though: it’s our whole way of living, from eating meat to taking overseas holidays.

These are things that every one of us is able to cut back, and if we all make small changes, cumulatively they will make a big difference.

Our ‘throw away’ culture, where instead of repairing products we just replace them with new ones, creating more carbon emissions and which damage the environment contributing to climate change, needs to reverse.

I also believe that we should be using public transport more. The Scottish Conservatives aim to improve reliability and lower costs so that public transport is truly a viable alternative to your own car.

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Jackie Baillie - Scottish Labour Party

Helensburgh Advertiser: Jackie BaillieJackie Baillie

CLIMATE change is one of the biggest challenges that we face as a country – and tackling the climate emergency that faces not just Scotland, but the whole planet, must be central to all of our policies and investment as we recover from the pandemic.

Just a few days ago, Scottish Labour unveiled its Climate Recovery Plan, which will deliver ground-breaking and much needed change in communities throughout Scotland.

We will improve energy efficiency across the country by upgrading the efficiency of all homes and helping to lower fuel bills.

We will invest in Scotland’s natural environment by planting at least 15,000 trees a year, and will increase peatland restoration to 20,000 hectares each year.

We will create real change in Scotland’s businesses by adopting a local-first approach to public sector procurement, reducing carbon emissions by ensuring goods and services are procured locally.

We will lead a Just Transition to a country which has net zero emissions. And we will adopt a new approach to development that puts public health, communities and, critically, the environment first.

These measures would not just contribute to tackling the global climate emergency: they would kick start Scotland’s economy, improve the health of Scotland’s people, tackle unemployment, and deal with the rising cost of living, too.

More in next week's Advertiser