Monday, 8 February 2010

Low carbon building fund closes with £70m

By Fiona Harvey
Published: February 7 2010 09:14
A property fund focusing on “greening” buildings has closed with nearly £70m (€80m, $110m) of equity.
Climate Change Capital, the low-carbon fund manager, aims to generate returns by refurbishing commercial buildings to save energy and other resources.
The fund’s managers work with the occupiers of the buildings to raise their environmental standards, for instance by installing better insulation, more energy efficient lighting and water-saving devices.
Improvements result in reduced operating costs, the benefits of which can be shared and increase the re-sale value of the buildings.
Climate Change Capital said the fund was 40 per cent invested, with two assets in Birmingham and Edinburgh, and said further investments were “under active consideration”.
Tim Mockett, managing director of the fund, said investors were looking for exposure to green property because they were “increasingly aware” that new and tightening regulations, on issues such as carbon dioxide and the energy efficiency of buildings, were making such properties more attractive.
“The trend to more energy efficient buildings driven by legislation, occupiers and investors, is irreversible,” Mr Mockett said.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2010.

Big shot: Dan Labbad, UK Green Building Council

Rebecca O’Connor

Dan Labbad, incoming chairman of the UK Green Building Council, does not fit the stereotype of the expatriate Australian living in London, in so much as he does not live in Earl’s Court and does not watch rugby. The Sydney-born 38-year-old chief executive of Lend Lease Europe, the developer, lives in Hackney and, actually, would rather watch football.
Rather more predictably, as someone who has just become head of an organisation that promotes the green agenda, he cycles every day to work — to Lend Lease’s New Broad Street offices in the City — and is passionate about greening-up construction. Now, in addition to the day job, he must stir the Green Building Council’s membership of contractors and developers to an equal level of enthusiasm for the cause and to meeting the target of cutting CO2 emissions from the built environment by 50 per cent in the next ten years.
Mr Labbad, a civil engineer, was a founding member of the Green Building Council and was head of sustainability for Lend Lease, which owns the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent — yet argues that he is not an expert on green issues. “No one has a monopoly on the green agenda. There are no experts. We are all just finding our way.” He became chief executive of the UK division of the Australian developer in February 2009, after arriving at the London office in 2006.
He started at Lend Lease as a site engineer in 1997, before becoming project director for the upgrade of Sydney International airport in 1999, before the 2000 Olympic Games. He then became chief executive of The Hornery Institute, a non-profit community development organisation.

He returned to Lend Lease in 2004 as head of sustainability, before becoming chief operating officer of Lend Lease Retail & Communities UK.
He says that Australia is further ahead than Britain on issues such as water conservation and waste management and adds that the big challenge for the UK is to make the necessary changes in a cost-effective way. “We know how we are going to do it — we have all the technologies and designs — but we do not have a common platform or any incentives to implement these changes in the industry. We need to build some scale and drive some momentum.”
He will succeed Peter Rogers, a director at Stanhope, as chairman of the UKGBC.
In his spare time, Mr Labbad likes cooking, reading and “experiencing London”.

UK should press EU for tigher carbon caps-report

Reuters, Monday February 8 2010
* EU carbon scheme needs tighter caps on emissions
* Auction revenues should go to tackle climate change
* UK govt should consider carbon tax, price floor
By Nina Chestney
LONDON, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Prices for European carbon emissions permits are too low to deliver low-carbon investment and the British government should press the EU to tighten limits on emissions, a UK Parliamentary committee said on Monday.
The European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) is the 27-nation bloc's main weapon against climate change. It forces companies to buy permits for each tonne of carbon they emit. Carbon output is capped and the level is lowered year by year.
As industrial output slowed in the recession, many companies had more carbon permits than they needed to cover their lower emissions. Many sold the surplus permits to raise cash, cutting the price more than half to under 15 euros a tonne.
Experts say carbon permits called EU Allowances (EUAs) need to rise to around 100 euros a tonne in 2020 to drive low-carbon investment. Analysts forecast prices to be some 30 euros by then.
"At the moment the price of carbon simply isn't high enough to make it work. If the Government wants to kick-start serious green investment, it must step in to stop the price of carbon flat-lining," said Tim Yeo, chairman of the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC).
The government should press the EU to significantly tighten the scheme's emissions caps, cancel new entrant reserve allowances and auction as many EUAs as possible instead of giving them to heavy polluters like utilities for free, the EAC said.
The EU ETS allows member states to set aside a national pool of spare EUAs called New Entrant Reserves for new or expanding industrial firms. Unused quotas from firms that close down are added to the pool.
Deutsche Bank estimates the total number of reserves in the EU will be over 300 million by 2012. Cancelling them, rather than auctioning or giving them away, would avoid too many permits flooding the market, the committee said.
The EU should also commit to a tougher emissions cut target of 30 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, instead of 20 percent, the committee urged.
To overcome current low prices, the government should consider the scope for a carbon tax, the committee advised. It should also encourage other member states to increase auctioning with reserve prices and press for a price floor in the EU ETS.
Under the EU ETS, governments can auction some of their national EUA quotas. The Carbon Trust estimates the government could receive 4 billion euros to 8 billion a year from its monthly auctions from 2013 to 2020.
Currently such revenue goes to the UK Treasury, but the government should show the profits go towards tackling climate change, the committee said.
The EAC said the use of offset credits means nations and industries with high emissions can buy their way out of making carbon cuts themselves. The government should therefore press for a limit on offset use.
Linking the EU ETS with other worldwide carbon schemes should not be done without setting an exchange rate, so that all the participants in a wider market are on a level playing field, the committee said.
"This report is yet another nail in the coffin for the government's deeply flawed reliance on carbon trading to tackle climate change," said Sarah-Jayne Clifton, Friends of the Earth's International Climate Campaigner. (Editing by David Holmes)

MPs propose carbon tax to boost green investment

• Price of carbon has collapsed to €15 a tonne• US and Australian emissions trading schemes under fire

Terry Macalister, Monday 8 February 2010
The European Union's Emissions Trading System (ETS) is failing to deliver vital green investment after a collapse in carbon prices, MPs warn in a report out today.
The environmental audit committee is calling on the government to introduce measures such as a new carbon tax to push the price of carbon from its level of €15 (£13) a tonne to what the MPs see as a more credible price of €100.
Tim Yeo, chairman of the committee, said: "Emissions trading should be helping us to combat climate change, but at the moment the price of carbon simply isn't high enough to make it work. The recession has left many big firms with more carbon allowances than they need and carbon prices have collapsed.
"If the government wants to kick-start serious green investment, it must step in to stop the price of carbon flatlining," the MP added.
The European cap-and-trade scheme has been seen by supporters as a model that should be replicated worldwide. Barack Obama has proposed a project for the US but it is facing heavy opposition, while in Australia the issue has also brought bitter divisions.
Friends of the Earth said the environmental audit committee report was "another nail in the coffin" of the ETS and argued the government should drop its reliance on the scheme in favour of energy efficiency measures and stronger regulation.
Sarah-Jayne Clifton, a climate ­campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: "Not only is trading failing to drive down emissions, banks are growing fat developing ever more complex trading systems and this risks another financial crash."

End tax breaks for polluters to cut budget deficit, thinktank urges

Green Alliance says £12bn could be saved by ending support for high-carbon industries such as aviation and building fewer roads
Juliette Jowit, Environment editor, Sunday 7 February 2010 15.44 GMT
Ministers could save £12bn of public spending over four years by clamping down on tax breaks and support for polluting oil exploration, cement, aluminium and transport, according to a report from green campaigners this week.
With all three major parties committed to cutting the projected £178bn budget deficit, and to a low-carbon economy, a report by the high-level Green Alliance thinktank argues that many spending cuts could achieve both ends. Perhaps the most controversial suggestion is to halve the £10bn national and regional roads spending budget.
Other proposals include ending the zero value-added tax (VAT) rate for aviation and shipping, and reducing tax breaks on oil and gas exploration and the Climate Change Levy for big energy users such as cement and aluminium companies, saving more than £5bn.
The report also says government departments should step up energy-efficiency improvements for buildings and vehicles to save £1.5bn over the four years, about one eighth of what they spend on fuel.
Chris Hewett, a Green Alliance associate and author of the report, said that apart from pledges to increase energy savings, none of these policies had been explicitly outlined by either the Labour government or the Conservatives, who under David Cameron's leadership have worked hard to position themselves as a much greener party.
However, Hewett dismissed suggestions that the recommendations would be too politically controversial, with the risk of upsetting powerful industries and prompting a public backlash if they led to more expensive travel or fuel, or more traffic on the roads.
"It's dependent on comparisons to the other options that will be on the table," said Hewett. "Particularly after the [general] election, we're going to have to take difficult decisions, and we're looking at areas of expenditure that haven't been looked at before, whether it's Trident [nuclear missiles for submarines] or public-sector pensions.
"We're saying, let's look at expenditure which goes to support a high-carbon economy – often a lot of the expenditure is not consistent with a low-carbon economy."
The challenge of meeting government efficiency savings was also revealed last week by the latest figures from the Department for Energy and Climate Change showing that public-sector emissions rose 6.5% in 2008, despite a 2% fall nationally.
The three major environment and conservation charities that commissioned the report – WWF, the The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Greenpeace – argue that it would be "reckless" to ignore the report.
Doug Parr, Greenpeace's chief scientist, said: "Britain can be a world leader in renewable technologies and low-carbon transport but only if we stop bailing out the dirty industries of the 20th century."
David Norman, WWF's head of campaigns, said: "The hole in the country's finances means, inevitably, that measures to support the environment and tackle climate change will come under pressure. This report is a grown-up response to this dilemma, and demonstrates that with a clear vision and sense of purpose the UK and move toward a low-carbon economy without profligate spending. Not to do so would cost us too much in the long run."

Democratic Climate Revolt

A bipartisan effort to stop the EPA's anticarbon crusade.
The Obama Administration has been moving full-speed ahead on anticarbon regulation, never mind waiting for Congress to pass a bill. But now opposition is building among senior Democrats, with two powerful committee Chairmen introducing a bill last week to bar the Environmental Protection Agency from declaring that carbon is a dangerous pollutant.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is busy writing new rules that would let her drive a tax-and-regulation bulldozer through the U.S. economy under laws never meant to apply to greenhouse gases. Ms. Jackson is expected to issue new anticarbon regulations for cars and trucks next month before moving on to power plants and other industries.
This is all too much for Missouri's Ike Skelton and Minnesota's Collin Peterson, the Chairmen of the House Armed Services and Agriculture Committees, respectively. Along with Missouri Republican Jo Ann Emerson, they are pushing a two-page bill that would amend the Clean Air Act to restore Congress's original intent and strip CO2 and other greenhouse gases from the statutory language.
This is bipartisanship we can believe in. Such legislation would vaporize the EPA's "endangerment finding" for carbon and thus require the Administration to use democratic debate and persuasion if it really wants to reshape the energy markets and impose huge new costs on American consumers. What a thought.
"If Congress doesn't do something soon, the EPA is going to cram these regulations through all on their own," Mr. Peterson said. "I have no confidence that EPA can regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act without severe harm to all taxpayers."
Added Mr. Skelton: "Simply put, we cannot tolerate turning over the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions to unelected bureaucrats at EPA. America's energy and environmental policies should be set by Congress." Yes, they should be.
The Skelton-Peterson-Emerson bill follows a similar effort by North Dakota Democrat Earl Pomeroy, not to mention Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski's coming "disapproval resolution" in the Senate that has the support of Democrats Mary Landrieu, Ben Nelson and Blanche Lincoln.
Our one caveat here is that Messrs. Skelton and Peterson are doing the right thing for the wrong reason—specifically, to defend the ethanol industry. Their bill includes provisions that would expand the definition of renewable fuels and make it easier for corn ethanol and soy biodiesel to qualify for federal tax credits. This is despite the growing shelf of studies that common crop-based fuels increase carbon emissions because of land-use changes and deforestation.
In any case, Ms. Jackson released final rules last week that would allow ethanol to maintain its mandate on the U.S. fuel supply, requiring her agency to back down from the more restrictive and supposedly science-based rules that it had proposed last year. Ms. Jackson insisted that EPA wasn't "dumbing down" its regulations, but her bow to the ethanol lobby revealed the death-grip it exerts on Congress.
Yet in the case of carbon regulation—an even dumber policy—we'll take what we can get. If the power of farm-state politicians ends up stopping the EPA's global-warming power grab, it would be the first good thing ethanol has done for the country.

We might err, but science is self-correcting

If claims about climate change need to be debunked, you can rely on scientists to do it. Scepticism is what we are all about
John Krebs

My non-scientist friends are beginning to ask me “What’s gone wrong with science?” Revelations about melting glaciers and potentially dodgy emails about global warming, the resurfacing of Andrew Wakefield and the MMR scare, and the sacking of the Government’s drugs adviser, have created the impression for some people that science is in a mess.
Of course science isn’t in a mess, nor has anything changed. But the stories underline two important features of scientists and science. First, scientists, just like every other trade — bus drivers, lawyers and bricklayers — are a mix. Most are pretty average, a few are geniuses, some are a bit thick, and some dishonest.
Second, science itself is often misunderstood. Scientists tend to be portrayed as voices of authority who are able to reveal truths about arcane problems, be it the nature of quarks or the molecular basis of ageing. In fact, science is almost the opposite of this. In The Trouble With Physics, physicist Lee Smolin considers how to describe science and concludes that Nobel Prize winner Richard Feyman’s phrase says it best: “Science is the organised scepticism in the reliability of expert opinion.”
An Oxford colleague, one of the world’s top climate scientists, made the same point last week when he said to me: “It’s odd that people talk about ‘climate sceptics’ as though they are a special category. All of us in the climate science community are climate sceptics. It’s our job to question and challenge everything.” Any scientist will tell you that when you turn up at a conference the audience will do its best to tear your findings to pieces: no one takes anything for granted.
This philosophy of science was formally instituted 350 years ago in London by the small band of men, including Christopher Wren and Robert Boyle, who founded the Royal Society, the world’s oldest national academy of science. Their motto, Nullius in verba (“Take nobody’s word for it”) embodies the Royal Society’s founding principle of basing conclusions on observation and experiment rather than the voice of authority. Scientists don’t have all the answers, but they do have a way of finding out, and the fact that our lights come on, our computers compute and our mobile phones phone are among the myriad daily reminders that the scientific way works.
You might retort that science and scientists often don’t live up to this ideal. And you would be right. Scientists, like everyone else, have human frailties and are susceptible to fashion and orthodoxy. Nevertheless, over time, science is self-correcting because someone will have the courage to challenge the prevailing view and win the argument, provided he or she has sufficient evidence.
There is, of course, no excuse for scientists who over-egg or massage their results, or who underplay the uncertainties in their conclusions. The prevailing view in many areas of science will include significant uncertainties (as with climate change), so challenge is central to the progress of understanding. The claim that Himalayan glaciers would melt in the next 30 years is an example of this self-correction. It was debunked from within the scientific community and not by outside commentators, it does not undermine the core conclusions about man-made global warming, and the mistake that the Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change made was to dismiss this challenge without studying the evidence.
Scepticism is fine but science is not a free-for-all. Whether or not you accept the sceptics’ view should depend on careful weighing of the evidence. Dr Wakefield had no good evidence to support his claim of a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. Equally, the Department of Health’s claim that the “MMR vaccine is perfectly safe” is wrong. No vaccine is perfectly safe, but not vaccinating your children exposes them to a far bigger risk than the tiny risk associated with the vaccine.
Given what I have said, it is not surprising that the interaction between science and government can be edgy. Ministers look to their expert advisers for clear-cut answers, a unanimous view, and preferably one that is politically convenient. Scientific advisers are prone to disappoint on all fronts. “I am sorry minister, but science is not clear-cut, what is more, different experts take a different view, and our best advice is to do X” (where X is not a vote winner). When I was asked to advise, in 1996, on whether or not to kill badgers as a way of controlling bovine tuberculosis, I said that without a proper experiment it is not possible to tell whether or not the policy would work. To its credit, the Ministry of Agriculture set up what was perhaps the largest ecological experiment ever carried out in this country. The result showed that killing is not a cost-effective policy, and disappointed farmers.
Last year David Nutt, Chairman of the Advisory Committee on the Misuse of Drugs, was sacked by the Home Secretary for being too outspoken about the Government’s rejection of his committee’s advice on the classification of cannabis and Ecstasy. If ministers are going to reject expert advice, they should explain why. What they should definitely not do, as both the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary did in this case, is to announce, before they have received the expert advice, that they have made up their mind.
Equally, independent experts should not be gagged by ministers, even if their views are inconvenient. Science, warts and all, is still the best way of finding out, and is absolutely vital in informing government policy. That is why the Government must strongly reaffirm its commitment to freedom of expression for independent scientific advisers. At the same time, if scientists have a right to be heard, they have a responsibility to be scrupulously honest and not to claim more than is justified by the evidence.
Lord Krebs is Principal of Jesus College, Oxford

Falklands oil prospects stir Anglo-Argentinian tensions

Four British firms set to drill for oil north of Falkland Islands, in move Argentina calls a 'violation of sovereignty'

Rory Carroll, Latin America correspondent, and Annie Kelly in Buenos Aires, Sunday 7 February 2010 20.43 GMT
It does not look like much: a jumble of pipes, containers and drilling equipment sitting on a windswept jetty at Port Stanley.
The hardware, however, signals an imminent search for oil and gas that could turn the Falkland Islanders into south Atlantic oil barons, a prospect that has already triggered a dispute between Britain and Argentina.
A rig, the Ocean Guardian, is due to arrive by mid-February and will almost immediately begin drilling for hydrocarbon deposits 100 miles north of the archipelago.
Geological surveys suggest there could be up to 60bn barrels beneath the seabed around the British territory, a bonanza that would transform islands famed for sheep, fish and remoteness.
"The rig won't come into sight of Port Stanley unfortunately, it'll be out too far," said Phyll Rendell, the islands' director of mineral resources. "But everyone knows it's coming."
A British company, Desire Petroleum, has hired the rig to drill prospects in the North Falkland basin and will later lease it to three other British companies – Rockhopper, BHP Billiton and Falklands Oil and Gas – which also have exploration contracts. They will use the rig in rotation throughout 2010.
It will be the first drilling in Falkland waters since Shell suspended exploration in 1998 after oil prices slumped to $12 a barrel.
"With the rise in oil prices and the worldwide search for new oil and gas services, it has now become more than commercially viable for this work to begin," said Ben Romney, a Desire Petroleum spokesman. "We should know by the end of the year whether or not a major extraction programme will go ahead."
Argentina is not waiting that long to voice its anger. It lost the 1982 war with Britain over the islands, which it calls the Islas Malvinas, but still claims sovereignty and terms British control an occupation.
"What they are doing is illegitimate," said Jorge Taiana, the foreign minister. "It's a violation of our sovereignty. We will do everything possible to defend and preserve our rights."
Last week the government summoned Britain's chargĂ© d'affaires – the ambassador was out of the country – to receive a protest note. Buenos Aires has reportedly warned Argentina-based oil companies against exploring waters around the Falklands and there are rumours it may use civilian vessels to disrupt the rig.
British diplomats brushed aside the protests and said it was longstanding UK policy to let the Falkland Islands government develop a hydrocarbons industry within its waters. They did not expect any Argentinian military forays.
Authorities on the islands were also unconcerned. "There will be quite a bit of rhetoric and Argentina has every right to protest if it wishes. But it will no doubt conduct itself in a proper manner," said Rendell. She was unaware of any plans by Buenos Aires to disrupt drilling.
Argentinians consider sovereignty over the islands a matter of national pride but few seemed impressed by their government's protest.
"Now the government is talking about the Malvinas again with their empty threats, and for what?" said Fabian Volonte, a former teenage conscript who was part of the 1982 invasion force. "We lost the war, now we have to watch the British growing rich from it and we can do nothing about it. It is just shame upon shame for Argentina."
Under current proposals the Falklands would receive 20% of all profits and 9% of royalties on every barrel. The four oil companies involved in drilling have also promised big onshore investment, including overhauling the main port and building 350 houses.
If even a small fraction of the potential deposits are found and extracted, it would transform the per capita income of the 2,900 islanders. Revenue from fisheries licences have in the last decade given Port Stanley, once desolate and broke, the feel of a prosperous Highland village.
The possibility of becoming a South Atlantic version of Brunei has not dazzled a population whose unofficial uniform is anorak and wellington boots.
Rather than the rig's imminent arrival, the local paper, the Penguin News, last week splashed on a proposal to market the Falklands to tourists as the "gateway to Antarctica".
"We have had the oil industry here before so there's a sense of been there, done that," said Rendell. "We have to remember that we haven't found any commercial oil yet. After six or seven months the drill could go away and not come back."
Argentina's claim
Argentina's anguish has sharpened with realisation it may have lost ­valuable natural resources in the South Atlantic as well as national pride. Argentina has claimed "Las Malvinas" since Britain occupied them in 1833, making the archipelago a source of national yearning for Argentinians. Losing the 73-day conflict in 1982 aggravated the sense of injustice. It has worsened since the islands began to thrive: fisheries ­licences generate millions of pounds, which could be dwarfed by oil and gas revenues. A scramble is under way off South America's Atlantic coast and the Antarctic. Argentina and Britain have extended claims over the continental shelf around the Falklands, and with Australia, China, France, New Zealand and Russia claim waters further south. President Cristina Kirchner has raised the prospect of Argentinian troops in the Antarctic to protect resources. ­Brazil, meanwhile, has posted troops in the Amazon and is beefing up its forces to protect oil and gas deposits 200 miles off its Atlantic coast.
Rory Carroll

Take the next exit for the green motorway service station

A new motorway service station being designed in the Cotswolds will lead the way environmentally

Amanda Baillieu
The Guardian, Monday 8 February 2010
Motorway services and green design are ­awkward bedfellows. It's not simply the petrol, the ­shopping and the fast food, but ­service stations take up a lot of space. And of course, they're dispiriting to look at.
But the challenge of building new services in the Cotswolds between junctions 11 and 12 of the M5 persuaded the developers to hold a competition. It was won by Glenn Howells, whose Savill Building in Windsor Park was shortlisted for the Stirling prize three years ago.
Designed to "knit" into the landscape so that even the petrol station cannot be seen from the road, it will emit a fifth of the carbon dioxide of normal motor­way services thanks to a kitchen garden, the creation of habitats for wildlife, and the use of ­locally sourced Douglas fir as the ­building material.
The consortium, whose planning application is to be considered by Stroud district council, includes Westmorland, the ­family-run firm behind the much-admired Tebay services in Cumbria, which won Egon Ronay's British Academy of Gastronomes' Grand Prix award last year.
The trouble is, having arrived you might never want to leave. The architect describes it as "a rural oasis", but it's not just the peace and quiet that is so appealing. It's the homemade food, the fresh veg and organic meat that will be sold in the farm shop, and the locally produced art and crafts replacing Marks & Spencer, WH Smith and other brands that will be banned, while profits will be ploughed back into the local community.
Green and foodie credentials aside, it's the design that will put it on the architectural map. The undulating shapes echo the landscape, while the ­timber-clad ­interior looks like the ­business- class lounge of a ­Scandinavian airport, with curvy chairs, low coffee tables and subtle lighting. Bring on the organic apple juice, the carrot cake and the hand-thrown pottery.
Amanda Baillieu is the editor of Building Design.

French urged to surf marine energy wave

Published Date: 08 February 2010
By Lucy Collins
THE First Minister will outline opportunities for French firms to invest in Scotland's renewable energy industry today.
Alex Salmond is in Paris to hold roundtable discussions with firms working in subsea and marine renewables, including the French energy firm EDF, Total and Veolia.He will also outline the details of the Scottish Government's £10 million Saltire Prize challenge, which rewards firms that can create commercially viable wave or tidal energy technology.The Scottish Government has a target to provide 50 per cent of electricity demand from renewables by 2020. Scotland's renewable energy is said to be capable of providing up to 25 per cent of Europe's tidal power and 10 per cent of its wave power.Mr Salmond said: "Scotland's Auld Alliance with France represents a strong, enduring bond between these two historic nations. France is Scotland's third largest export destination, worth an estimated £1.5 billion to our economy. More Scotch whisky is sold in France than in any other country."Alongside multi-million-pound food and drink exports, Scotland has strong sales across manufacturing, engineering and financial services."At the same time, French companies continue to invest in key Scottish sectors such as financial services and energy."This is a very important opportunity for the Scottish Government, working with Scottish Development International, to further strengthen our relationships with leading French companies." The First Minister will also meet the Minister for Europe, Pierre Lellouche, to discuss cultural and educational links between Scotland and France, and attend the Royal Scottish National Orchestra's concert at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees.