On October 13, the first Day of Action of our International Federation, Friends of the Earth Scotland inflated a huge globe depicting the dangerously warming world outside Scottish Government building at St Andrew's House in Edinburgh. We wanted to raise the alarm on the climate emergency and urge greater action from the Scottish Government.
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 being broken, the planet is sending is a very clear message that we are in a climate emergency. All of these record-breaking disasters are happening at only one degree of warming so far.
Without greater ambition from advanced nations including Scotland, we will see even more devastating impacts on hundreds of millions of people around the world. It will 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.
The Scottish Government has just finished consulting on their new climate plans and is now aiming to introduce a Climate Change Bill to Parliament early in 2018. It had proposed a 90% emissions cut on 1990 levels by 2050 but this does not go far enough. The Scottish Government must commit to becoming a zero emissions nation by 2040, with a cut of 77% by 2030.
Nearly 20,000 people responded to their consultation this summer calling for increased action and stronger targets. The First Minister has previously 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.
Their 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.
Find out in the original blog how you can help Friends of the Earth Scotland.