Climate campaigners took their anger at the Scottish Government decision to scrap its 2030 climate targets to a protest outside Bute House tonight (23 /4/24).

The protest called on the First Minister and his Government ‘not to break their climate promise’.

Organisers say that scrapping these targets means a weakening of climate action, a reduction in scrutiny on Ministers and is a ‘betrayal’ of those impacted by climate breakdown.

Speakers at the rally highlighted the impact extreme weather is already having on Scottish food production, as well endangering lives in climate vulnerable countries.

Protestors are taking their message directly to the First Minister’s residence because he must take responsibility for the Scottish Government’s failure to deliver on their climate commitments.

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s Climate Campaigner Caroline Rance said,

“People are rightly angry that Humza Yousaf’s Government plans to break its climate promise and slow down action in this crucial decade. Climate science is clear that we cannot allow that to happen.

“The Scottish Government’s repeated failure to act has meant not only have they missed climate targets, but they have missed tangible opportunities to improve people’s lives through providing good public transport, decent home insulation and creating good green jobs.

“The First Minister must take responsibility for this colossal climate failure because the desperately weak policy package announced last week offers no reassurance that his Ministers are serious about getting us back on track.

Landworkers’ Alliance Scotland Policy and Campaigns Coordinator Tara Wight, who spoke at the rally, commented,

“The effects of climate change are already having a devastating impact on farming in Scotland with productive fields underwater, record lamb deaths this Spring and storm Babet last year causing the most drastic loss of crop value ever recorded. This has a big impact on our food system, increasing the need for carbon-heavy imports and driving up the cost of food at a time when people are already struggling to make ends meet.”

“Farmers and crofters urgently need support to transition their practices to improve both climate resilience and mitigation yet the Scottish Government’s policies for climate-friendly agriculture are the least ambitious in the UK, and fall far behind the EU. This lack of action on climate change and just transition is a betrayal of our farming and crofting communities.”

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) Coalition Manager Becky Kenton-Lake commented,

“Scotland’s target to reduce emissions by 75% by 2030 was based on our fair contribution to retaining a liveable planet. As the First Minister himself has said, rich nations failing to deliver on climate commitments would represent “catastrophic negligence“, and the Scottish Government’s lack of sufficient climate action to date represents a major breach of trust with the people of Scotland and communities around the world who have done least to cause the crisis but whose lives and livelihoods are already being destroyed.”

“The range of largely re-heated measures announced by the Scottish Government are wholly inadequate and fall very significantly short of the transformational acceleration in action needed.”

Liz Murray, Head of Scottish Campaigns at Global Justice Now said,

“We’re at the rally today to urge the First Minister and the Scottish government not to backtrack on its climate commitments. The First Minister has in the past spoken out about the catastrophic negligence of rich countries’ failure to act on climate change, so he should be totally ashamed of his own government’s failure to take the action needed to meet its own targets. And rather than pulling out all the stops to get things back on track to meet those targets, the Scottish Government is now just going to move the goalposts. This is shameful.

“Climate change knows no borders. People who have had little or nothing to do with causing the climate emergency, from communities in the global south to marginalised communities in Scotland, are suffering its serious effects. In a climate emergency, letting itself off the hook is the wrong thing for the Scottish Government to do, and any claims it had to global leadership on climate change now have no credibility.”

Notes to Editors

The protest will take place on Tuesday 23 April 6-7pm outside Bute House in Edinburgh. Speakers include representatives of youth climate groups, the Landworkers Alliance and Friends of the Earth Philippines.

The protest is organised by Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, Global Justice Now Scotland and Friends of the Earth Scotland.

Photos from the protest are available in this album.

All the parties in the Scottish Parliament voted in favour of the 75% emission reduction target by 2030 when the Climate Act was strengthened in 2019 – at the time the Greens were calling for 80% by the same date. Climate scientists are clear that there must be urgent action to bring down emissions within this decade.

Landworkers Alliance Scotland are a union of farmers & land-based workers with a mission to improve the livelihoods of our members and create a better food & land-use system.

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) is a diverse coalition of over 60 organisations campaigning together on climate change.

Global Justice Now is a democratic social justice organisation working as part of a global movement to challenge the powerful and create a more just and equal world.

Friends of the Earth Scotland is:
* Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 73 national member groups, and 5,000 local activist groups.