You might remember that the SNP first talked about a new Climate Bill in their 2016 election manifesto, pledging to “raise our ambition further … to implement the Paris Agreement”.

Since that pledge was made, we’ve learned that 2016 was the hottest year ever recorded while 2017 was the hottest ever without the extra warming El Niño effect. We looked on in horror as devastating extreme weather swept the globe from floods in Asia, droughts in Africa, heat waves and wildfires in Europe and hurricanes in America. The severity and urgency of the situation could not be clearer.

With the Climate Bill expected in the coming weeks, we’re anxiously awaiting its publication to see if it will indeed deliver the ambition and action needed to pull us back from the brink of the climate crisis.

Growing support for net-zero Scotland

In recent months we’ve seen a fantastic amount of support for Scotland to set a net-zero target, with backing from climate scientists to Scottish farmers and faith leaders, and people from climate impacted communities around the world:

  • A dozen of the world’s leading climate scientists, including former NASA Director Dr James Hansen, have written an open letter urging the Scottish Government to “demonstrate international leadership and responsibility” by setting a goal of net zero emissions for Scotland by 2050 at the latest.
  • Mary Robinson, former UN special envoy on climate change and founder of the Climate Justice Foundation, spoke in Glasgow earlier this year saying “Everyone must commit to zero emissions by 2050. If cities around the world can do it, Scotland can do it. It’s a matter of climate justice.”

  • Fifty food, farming and rural organisations, individual farmers and academics have written to Scottish Ministers, asking them to help reduce emissions from agriculture and “use the new Climate Bill to drive a just transition to a carbon-neutral, resilient farming sector by 2050 at the latest”
  • An interfaith statement, signed by around 20 faith leaders representing Scotland’s faith communities, highlights the impact of climate change on the world’s most vulnerable and urges the Scottish Parliament to pass a “strong and ambitious Climate Change Act; one which reflects Scotland’s fair share of global efforts and one which puts Scotland firmly on the path towards an inclusive, low-carbon future in which we can all flourish”.

 

Stella Miria Robinson

  • 100 voices, a Stop Climate Chaos Scotland project, has been sharing the stories of people from around the world, often people on the frontlines of climate change, who are urging Scotland to go further. Including Stella Miria-Robinson (pictured), Papua New Guinean Australian, Roving Ambassador for the Pacific Islands Council of Queensland:

“We stand to lose our homes, lose our countries, lose our identities as distinct Peoples of the Planet, lose our cultures, languages and familiar places. We do not want to be passport holders of countries that have disappeared. What happens in Europe, the US, China and Australia, for example, affects what happens climatically, in our Pacific Ocean. I hope Scotland, The Brave, will help to lead the way, through its commitment to a net zero carbon strategy and soon.”

This all follows on from last year’s show of public support where nearly 19,000 people responded to the Scottish Government’s consultation, and urged them to deliver increased action and stronger targets.

Global climate leaders

Other countries are already stepping up their ambition, with Finland, France, Iceland Portugal, New Zealand and Sweden all committed to becoming climate neutral countries by 2050 at the latest. The European Parliament voted to recommend that Europe as whole should be at net-zero by 2050. Scotland must get on board. Sweden’s climate minister Isabella Lövin recently called on countries to commit to net-zero emissions, writing “it will clearly be untenable for any western government that does not have a net zero target with an appropriate date and a means of delivering it to claim to be a “climate leader”.

But so far, the Scottish Government’s plans are too weak – proposing barely any extra action over the next decade, and only dong 10% extra in 32 years. And they don’t include setting a net-zero target.

We’re calling for the Climate Change Bill to go further, faster by setting a target of 77% emissions reductions by 2030, and reaching net-zero climate emissions (becoming ‘climate neutral’) by 2040, to do our fair share of global climate action. The Government also need to introduce the policies in agriculture, energy efficiency and transport to help deliver these increased targets.

Get involved

We know that to win this, we need people power. Together, we must show the Scottish Government, and all parties in the Scottish Parliament, that there is support for climate action.

So we’re running a series of workshops and a film tour across Scotland in June to kickstart a national discussion about climate action. We’ll be talking about the impacts of climate change, about climate justice and what Scotland needs to do, and how each and every one of us can get involved in the campaign for climate action. Please join us, this one’s too big to sit out.

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Caroline Rance

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