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Coalition calls for climate change action

This news post is almost 7 years old

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland has said it wants government plans to go even further

Environmental groups have called for the Scottish Government to deliver legislation that will address climate change on a global level.

Scotland’s largest civil society coalition, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS), has written to the first minister calling for the new climate change bill to go even further to help stop the growing threat to the world’s poorest communities.

With just over a month to go until the public consultation on the bill ends, SCCS is pushing the government to produce a world-leading plan for Scotland, insisting the current proposals fall short of the mark.

Last month, the coalition - made up of 50 members including Sciaf, WWF Scotland, Oxfam, RSPB Scotland, Friends of the Earth Scotland, Christian Aid, and Unison - launched its Act for Our Future campaign calling for a climate change bill that creates both "world leading ambition and the policies required for delivery”.

SCCS chair Tom Ballantine has written to Nicola Sturgeon praising the Scottish Government’s commitment to implementing the Paris Agreement through the legislation, but said current government plans fell well short of the level needed if Scotland is to be at the forefront of delivering the international agreement signed by 197 countries 18 months ago.

The letter outlines the coalition’s three key demands for the new bill including setting a target of zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 at the latest, and a reduction of 77% by 2030, ensuring that future finance budgets are consistent with climate targets, and committing to actions that cut emissions and deliver and cleaner, healthier, more prosperous Scotland.

He wrote: “The new climate change bill is a huge opportunity to renew Scotland’s climate leadership and demonstrate the creative, imaginative and bold policies you are aiming for in the next programme for government. A net zero target by 2050, and the transformative policies to deliver it, would maintain Scotland’s place as a true world leader. It would deliver an increase in jobs, cleaner air, reduced burdens on the NHS and economic prosperity.

“Thousands of SCCS supporters will be submitting their responses to the recently launched consultation on the bill. We look forward to working with your cabinet to ensure that the new act delivers on a just, prosperous, low-carbon future.”

Ballantine also highlighted great challenges on climate change in the past year, in particular President Donald Trump’s decision to signal US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement being a “cause for deep concern”.

“Against that backdrop, we have been heartened by the renewed, and growing, commitment to tackle climate change and build a resilient, thriving low carbon future from the EU, China and other nations as well as from states, cities, businesses and communities in the US and around the world,” he added.

The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 set a greenhouse gas emissions target to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050. The new climate bill proposal increases that target to 90%, making provisions for a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target to be set when the evidence becomes available.

The deadline for the climate change bill consultation is 22 September.