Aid charities urge further Scottish action on climate change

22 Sep 17

An alliance of aid charities has urged the Scottish Government to respond to developing world climate catastrophes by ramping up its programme for reducing greenhouse emissions.

The charities submitted a paper to the Holyrood parliament as it prepares to accelerate the programme to cut emissions by 90% by 2050. It says a growing toll of hurricanes, floods and famine in many of the world’s poorest regions should be met with a still tougher commitment to cut emissions to zero over the same timetable.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon, outlining her Programme for Government earlier this month, described tackling climate change as a moral imperative. The United Nations has called Scotland’s achievement in cutting emissions by 40% ahead of target “exemplary”.

The alliance, which includes Oxfam and Christian Aid, acknowledge the achievement and says Scotland can be proud of its record. But it adds: “[Sturgeon’s] welcome words must now be backed up with significant policy and funding action substantially to reduce our emissions now and in the future.

“Scotland's new Climate Change Bill is a chance to begin changing the future so it's fairer for everyone,” the submission adds.

“By putting in place a strong Bill, the Scottish Government can also send a powerful message to world leaders that Scotland rejects any back-sliding on global climate commitments.”

Drafted in the light of the Paris Agreement, the Climate Change Bill, on which consultation ends today, heightens the ambitions set out by its 2009 predecessor. The new framework would aim to see emissions cut by 66% from their base figure by 2032, and 90% by 2050.

Sturgeon has undertaken to turn Scotland into a low carbon economy of international standing. Plans include phasing out petrol and diesel vehicles by 2032, eight years ahead of the UK target, and banning high-emission vehicles from large parts of Scotland’s cities. Some 3,500 premature deaths a year in Scotland are attributed to vehicle emissions.

“Scotland has cut its greenhouse gas emissions by over 40% and is championing climate justice because we take our international obligations very seriously,” Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Climate Change, said.

“We know that countries like Scotland have a clear moral duty to make sure our lifestyles do not cause harm to the world's poorest people.”

  • Keith Aitken
    Keith Aitken

    covers Scottish affairs for Public Finance from Edinburgh. He was formerly economics editor and chief leader writer on The Scotsman and now has a busy freelance career as a writer, broadcaster and event chair.

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