OPINION: World is burning and we’re part of the problem

“We’re in a climate emergency, the world is literally burning, and Scotland unfortunately is part of the problem.

“The Scottish Government’s commitment to ending Scotland’s contribution to the crisis is a strong, welcome and necessary goal.

“It means reducing all our emissions to zero.

“Targeting net-zero is a fantastic start to help us get there, and Scotland’s net-zero target is better than most because unlike other countries, it includes international transport emissions from flights and shipping.

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“But net-zero cannot be the end point. It only tackles half of Scotland’s total carbon footprint, focusing almost exclusively on the emissions created within our borders, our territorial emissions.

“To play our full part in tackling climate change we now need to focus on the other half too – all the emissions created overseas from the imports which feed our huge consumption habit.”

“The need to move beyond net-zero is clear. How we do that is also clear.

“We need to switch to a circular economy which places value on the wellbeing of people and planet alike by eliminating waste and the harmful emissions it creates.

“Our traditional economy follows a simple but wasteful line of ‘make, take and throw’ which is totally unsustainable, particularly with all the needless single-use products we’ve grown accustomed to buying and binning daily.

“A circular economy keeps our limited resources in a ‘loop’ of use maximising value and minimising waste and emissions by reducing, reusing, repairing, remaking and finally recycling everything we use.

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“This will significantly cut our unsustainable demand for new materials and products, including carbon-intensive imports.”

“Scotland’s public sector spends around £11 billion each year on goods and services – or about ten per cent of our nation’s entire GDP.

“That gives public sector organisations vast influence on how the whole nation does business.

“You are uniquely placed to decide and transform the way Scotland demands and uses products and services.”

Mr Gulland delivered this address at a conference on sustainability in the public sector at the Royal Bank of Scotland’s Edinburgh headquarters yesterday.




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