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Action on climate change is a "scientific and moral imperative" say civil society leaders


More than 30 individuals have signed statements calling on the Scottish and UK governments to “bridge the widening gap” between promises and practical action

Scotland’s inability to meet key climate change targets must be a “wake-up” call for all of society.

And failure to work openly and collaboratively to drive progress will have grave implications for the planet.

This is the stark view of a group of civic society leaders and scientists who have taken the unprecedented step to team up and urge people to acknowledge the risks of inaction and devise solutions to tackle the climate crisis.

More than 30 individuals have signed statements calling on the Scottish and UK governments to “bridge the widening gap” between promises and practical action to build a fairer, greener, healthier society for all.

They said addressing the climate crisis is a “moral necessity” and Scotland must do all it can to play its part because further delay will have dire human and economic costs.

The signatories are led by Rt Rev Sally Foster-Fulton (pictured), moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Professor Stuart Haszeldine, co-director at the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute and Mike Robinson, chair of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) and chief executive of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.

They said it is “alarming” that Holyrood’s Climate Change Committee recently concluded that Scotland’s 2030 targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions are no longer credible.

The campaigners warned that climate change “doesn’t stop just because we don’t want to deal with it and this is not the time to step back from our commitments.”

But they said action can no longer be taken for granted as both the UK and Scottish Governments have been found to be making insufficient progress to tackle the biggest threat facing humanity.

The religious and civic leaders and scientists spoke out ahead of an emergency summit at the official residence of the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland recently.

Rev Foster-Fulton said: “Climate change is here and our shared planet is in the middle of a climate catastrophe and we all have to play our part because the time for delay has passed.

“Five years ago, the Scottish Government set strong climate targets but we have gone back to a business as usual model.

“Today, we call on each other to reset, to refocus and rethink to find ways to meet strong targets for our own sakes, and for those around the world who have done the least to cause climate change

SCCS’s Mike Robinson said: “We need political leadership and a commitment to action to reduce emissions and help other countries to deal with climate impacts, whilst at the same time securing sustainable jobs, improving health and wellbeing, reducing inequality and delivering the necessary transition.

“Throughout 2019, the year of the school climate strikes, when the Scottish Parliament unanimously set its 2045 targets, and called for a target of at least 75% by 2030, there was a positive mood amongst most people in society, a recognition of our collective responsibility to do better, and a determination to step up.

“Governments declared climate emergencies, businesses set net zero targets and people demanded better. “But over the past few years, this energy and focus has slipped, targets have been missed and now face being removed.”

The signatories said politicians of every creed, businesses in every sector, public servants, communities and civic leaders in every part of Scotland need to come together to solve the crisis.

They “must see beyond their differences” and work openly and collaboratively to drive progress before it is too late.

Robinson added: “We have an opportunity to get back on track, but we all need to step up. “In working together and addressing the climate emergency with the urgency it demands, we can build solutions that work for everyone.

“But it will need all of us to recapture the determination we had only five years ago. And we need every one of our leaders to step up and act on climate.”



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