Chris Hegarty, Senior Policy and Advocacy Advisor for Christian Aid Scotland: A banner at the recent schools’ climate protest suggested that ‘if the climate was a bank, it would have been saved by now’. It’s hard to disagree. Almost everyone over a certain age seems to have a story to tell about how weather patterns now differ markedly from those of their childhoods. Gertrude Hamooya is a small-scale farmer in Zambia cultivating maize and ground-nuts. She has had to cope with unpredictable seasons and flooding destroying crops and making it harder to transport goods. Last year Gertrude joined calls from around the world for Scotland to ‘Give it 100%’ in its efforts to tackle climate change. Scotland finds itself in an interesting position: ahead of many, but behind where we need to be. In recent years Scotland has taken many positive steps and is often held up as a climate-leader. In some respects, that’s true – Scotland has done more than most in terms of cutting emissions, and the Scottish Government has shone a spotlight on crucial issues such as Climate Justice (the disproportionate impact of climate change on those who have done least to cause it, and the need to make good that injustice). Yet as climate science clarifies, as the evidence mounts, and the impacts worsen, so our level of ambition must respond accordingly to reflect what we know needs to happen. In that respect Scotland – and indeed virtually every other country – is still far behind where we need to be. Science suggests that richer countries need to become ‘climate neutral’ – to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions – within a generation. Scotland, having made a good start down that path, and being blessed with huge renewable resources, must surely be at the forefront. As the Scottish Parliament turns twenty this year, MSPs face a choice. A new Climate Change Act – to be passed in the coming months – will re-set Scotland’s ambition for the decades to come.
Scotsman 15th April 2019 read more »