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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Scotland told to show climate leadership after COP28


The climate talks failed to reach an agreement on urgently phasing out fossil fuels.

Charities and politicians have said Scotland must show climate leadership following the “grossly inadequate” outcome of COP28 in the United Arab Emirates. 

The COP28 climate talks in Dubai failed to reach agreement on the need to urgently phase out fossil fuels or provide climate finance to most affected countries.

The final COP decision included reference to “transition away” from fossil fuels but does not include the fast, fair and funded phase out that many countries, scientists and civil society organisations were calling for.

Campaigners called on the Scottish and UK Government to respond and “redouble their efforts to phase out fossil fuels this decade”.

Jamie Livingstone, head of Oxfam Scotland, said: “Everyone fighting against the global climate crisis has little to celebrate from this disappointing COP28. Oil, coal and gas won again, but they had to struggle harder to do so and their era is nearing its end. 

“Against the backdrop of this grossly inadequate outcome, Scotland must build on its leadership in providing funding for communities facing the irreversible impacts of climate change by also showing the world what a full, fast and fair transition away from our fossil fuel fixation looks like.  

“Ahead of his cross-party climate summit, the First Minister must recognise that a fossil free future requires substantial new investment, and he should use next week’s Scottish Budget to start implementing new common-sense taxes rooted in his Government’s backing for the principle that the polluters who caused this crisis should pay for it too.” 

In defiance of climate warnings, the UK Government recently approved the controversial Rosebank oil field and pledged to ‘max out’ UK oil and gas whilst issuing annual licenses to firms who want to look for new sources of oil and gas.

The Scottish Government are considering an application from energy giants SSE and Equinor to build an additional gas-fired power station at Peterhead in Aberdeenshire. 

Official figures from SEPA show the existing plant is already the single worst polluter in Scotland for the past five years, belching out over one million tonnes of climate changing gases in 2022.

Friends of the Earth Scotland climate and energy campaigner, Caroline Rance, said: “The repeated failure of COP to address the core problem of fossil fuels is an insult to victims of climate breakdown. Fossil fuel fanatics would rather keep making their obscene profits rather than accept the need to phase out their deadly products.

“The failure to agree an end to fossil fuels at COP28 must not be used as an excuse to delay a fossil fuel phase out at home.

“Rich countries like the US, UK and EU are the biggest historical polluters, all with huge fossil fuel expansion plans. It’s time to end all new oil and gas developments and plan for a phase out of fossil fuels while ramping up renewables. In the UK that means scrapping the plans to open new oil fields like Rosebank and for Scottish Ministers to reject the proposals to burn gas to generate electricity at Peterhead.

“The Scottish Government must redouble its efforts to ensure that people and communities working in oil and gas are at the heart of planning a rapid phase out of fossil fuels, whilst scaling up publicly-owned renewable energy and energy efficiency to create decent green jobs.

“For too long, fossil fuel lobbyists have been allowed access to try to delay and derail global climate talks. If we have any hope of addressing the climate crisis, our politics must be free from the polluting influence of the fossil fuel industry.

“Whilst this COP might not have delivered, these talks are a vitally important international space where all countries have a seat at the table and can theoretically engage on an equal footing.  People power matters, we can and we will keep fighting for the better world we know is possible, because our so-called leaders aren’t going to make it without us.”

The calls of charities were echoed by the Scottish Greens, who said Scotland must step-up efforts to phase out fossil fuels

The party’s climate spokesperson, Mark Ruskell MSP, said: “While the final text of this deal is a step forward, it is clear this has only been agreed through gritted teeth to allow the hosts to save face.

 “It is deeply troubling how much influence and pressure that the big petrostates with financial muscle bring to bear on these talks, compared with those nations who are on the front line of the climate crisis.

“If there is a positive to be taken, it is that for the first time those in the room acknowledged that oil and gas is a problem that must be solved. But few will believe there is sincerity until their warm words are turned into action.

“That must include Scotland, which must speed up the action we are taking to deliver a genuine just transition that leaves no worker behind. The kind of plan that is already seeing £90bn of green investment rolling out in the next three years supporting 77,000 jobs.

“With a tripling of renewable energy by 2030 also outlined in the talks, Scotland is among the best placed in the world to take advantage of demand thanks to skilled workers, abundance of natural resources and our reputation as a world leader in everything from wind to solar and tidal energy. 

“As with everything the climate summit affords the potential of scale, but what we do here in Scotland will define the role we play on that stage and should be part of a collective effort.

“The Scottish Greens have helped to influence and drive the climate agenda at the heart of this government, we are focusing minds and championing the calls from campaigners, yet there is so much more to do.

“Today, for the first time, the world heard and agreed we must move away from fossil fuels, and Scotland must help to lead that effort.”

Mike Robinson, chair of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, added: “It is hard to feel any excitement about this outcome, and given these talks were hosted by the head of an oil company, many people will be completely unsurprised that the final outcome fails to give any sense of urgency and ignores what the science has been telling us for decades - ‘cop-ping out’ of delivering a long overdue agreement to urgently phase out from the coal, oil and gas that is fuelling the crisis.

“This failure means the world remains on track for catastrophic levels of heating and the debt owed to countries who did least to cause the crisis to help them to cope and recover from extreme climate impacts will only increase.

"The onus is now on individual countries to do what is so urgently needed, and channel their efforts into delivering progress, rather than impeding the necessary change. The UK Government must cancel the new oil and gas licensing round. At the same time, the Scottish Government must clearly and strongly oppose new oil development, and say no to new gas at Peterhead, while swiftly delivering a robust new climate plan that gets us on track to meeting and exceeding our climate targets through a just transition that is fairly funded by making the biggest polluters pay for their damage.”



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