"With talks being hosted by one of the world’s biggest exporters of fossil fuels, many are very doubtful we will end up with agreements anywhere near what is needed"
As world leaders gather for Cop28 in Dubai, a coalition of over 60 organisations is calling on Scotland’s first minister to show leadership on the climate crisis.
Stop Climate Crisis Scotland (SCCS) is urging Humza Yousaf to “bolster the international leadership” Scotland has shown at previous Cops, including that at Glasgow, by supporting the priorities of countries most impacted by the climate crisis and driving progress by making ambitious announcements on reducing emissions and delivering a fair transition away from fossil fuels.
Yousaf and cabinet secretary for net zero Mairi McAllan are attending the conference, which starts today (Thursday, 30 November).
Mike Robinson, chair of SCCS, said: “2023 will soon be confirmed as the hottest year ever recorded, with increasingly extreme weather devastating lives and livelihoods across the world, yet emissions continue to rise along with temperatures.
“With current international climate pledges failing to keep the planet below two degrees of heating, we need Cop28 to step up – to break our perilous reliance on fossil fuels and to deliver much-needed financial support to people around the world who are suffering its worst impacts.
“However, with the talks being hosted by one of the world’s biggest exporters of fossil fuels, many are very doubtful that we will end up with agreements anywhere near what is needed. In addition, it would appear that the whole Cop process is currently in serious jeopardy, with reports that the host nation has been using these talks as a vehicle to promote its oil interests with other nations, which is deeply concerning, and the venue for next year’s talks is still undetermined after another Russia vetoed agreement on the host.”
He continued: “With this background it is more vital than ever that Scotland continues to play a role in demonstrating leadership on the world stage and pushes ahead with action at home. The first minister has confirmed his commitment to strong climate action, but we are yet to see this translate into sufficient investment in the actions needed to reduce emissions quickly and fairly here in Scotland.
“Cap28 presents a key test of climate credibility on the world stage, and to protect this we urge the Scottish Government to get on with the things they can do now, such as reforming the funding system for agriculture, accelerating peatland restoration, making our homes warmer and enabling more sustainable transport options.
“In addition, we want to see Scotland bolster the leadership it has shown at previous Cops by committing to raise new money for climate finance by making the biggest polluters pay, backing the development of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, and raising global ambition on the need to deliver a just transition.”
The first minister said Scotland will continue to call for loss and damage funding that prioritises the needs of vulnerable communities and take a lead on addressing the biodiversity and the climate crisis.
He will hold bilateral meetings with international leaders and those from the global south to hear first hand their experiences and priorities for global action and will launch the Scottish net zero business programme and will speak at events to showcase how Scotland is taking innovative action to support the drive to a just transition.
The first minister said: “Our planet is at a tipping point, radical and ambitious action is needed to limit global warming to 1.5°C. The gathering of the global community at Cop28 is pivotally important in the fight against climate change. Only by working together can we meet the need and urgency of the task that lies ahead.
“Scotland has demonstrated that we can lead the way on taking tangible steps, however collective action is needed to tackle the climate emergency and address the devastating effects of climate change, in particular loss and damage. We simply do not have time to work alone when it comes to our just transition to net zero.
“During the next two weeks, the Scottish Government looks forward to sharing our net zero progress, showcasing our strides in sustainability and engaging in meaningful dialogue on climate action.
“Cop28 also allows the Scottish Government to advance international relations and build partnerships. Scottish companies will be attending to enhance Scotland’s global reputation, particularly on renewable energy. It’s also an opportunity to attract investment in strategic net zero sectors in Scotland.”
SCCS is organising a day of action for climate justice, as part of a global campaign, outside the Scottish parliament on Tuesday, 9 November.