CAMPAIGNERS claim Scottish Government proposals for a new climate change bill ‘fail to deliver’ on what is needed to tackle what they say has become a ‘global emergency’.
Friends of the Earth Scotland say worst affected regions are looking to countries like Scotland to throw them a lifeline by being acting more boldly.
They took their argument to the government’s St Andrew’s House HQ in Edinburgh today where a giant globe highlighting worldwide warming was unveiled.
It was created using NASA Satellite maps showing average temperature rises across the planet as they demanded more action.
Friends of the Earth Scotland Director Dr Richard Dixon said: “We’re here to raise the alarm on the climate emergency. 2017 has seen a succession of devastating hurricanes and cyclones, floods in South Asia, wildfires raging around the world and ice shelf collapses.
“With temperature records repeatedly broken the planet is sending is a very clear message that we are in a climate emergency.
“These record-breaking disasters come at only one degree of warming so far.”
He continued: “Without greater ambition from advanced nations including Scotland, we will see devastating impacts on hundreds of millions of people around the world, put our ability to grow enough food at risk, increase political instability and wipe out many thousands of plant and animal species.
“To put it simply, the lives and livelihoods of millions depend upon rich nations cutting emissions as soon as possible.”
Government ministers have been under renewed pressure to act and offer more substantial action when they set the nation’s new climate ambitions.
Groups have welcomed initiatives to effectively ban fracking, introduce low emission zones to cities and a series of other initiatives in its programme for government.
But details of a consultation on new targets for the forthcoming Climate Change Bill to be put forward in Parliament early next year proposed a 90% emissions cut on 1990 levels by 2050.
Friends of the Earth Scotland – along with other campaigners – wants them to commit to becoming a zero emissions nation by 2040, with a cut of 77% by 2030.
Dr Dixon added: “The First Minister has committed Scotland to ‘playing our full part in the Paris Agreement.’ But her government’s proposals so far fail to deliver what is needed to address this climate emergency.
“Nearly 20,000 people responded to their consultation this summer calling for increased action and stronger targets.
“The Programme for Government announcements of the phase out of fossil-fuelled cars by 2032 and the creation of a Just Transition Commission to ensure the shift to low carbon economy is fair to workers and communities were both demonstrations of climate leadership.
“These measures and the subsequent decision to ban fracking should embolden them to go further and set us on the path to a zero emissions Scotland. Positive action on climate change will deliver warmer homes, healthier citizens and help tackle poverty at home and abroad.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is visiting the Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik today where she will discuss climate action and meet with the UN climate chief.
When attending the same event last year she said “it was essential that the world… makes serious efforts to keep them [temperature rises] below 1.5C.”
FoES campaigners were taking part in an International Day of Action which featured activities from over 30 grassroots groups across six continents.
Want to learn more? Read: International Days of Action for Climate Justice
Image credits: Friends of the Earth Scotland