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Scottish government must protect the world's poorest people

22 September 2017

Climate bill hand in

We’ve joined forces with other major international development organisations to challenge the Scottish Government to protect the world’s poorest people by making sure climate justice is a fundamental part of the forthcoming Climate Change Bill.

This comes just days after Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) - Scotland’s largest civil society coalition made up of 50 members including SCIAF - revealed over 17,000 people have responded to the Scottish Government’s Climate Change Bill public consultation.

On Wednesday children from Sciennes Primary in Edinburg presented hundreds of messages from people across Scotland, on behalf of the SCCS, to the Cabinet Secretary for Climate Change Roseanna Cunningham.

Our challenge to the Scottish Government – issued on the final day of its public consultation on the Bill and at the end of Climate Week - highlights the devastating impact of extreme weather which is wreaking havoc around the world.

In a joint submission to the Scottish Government, we are urging the First Minister to back up her pledge to tackle climate change.

The submission asks Ministers to make sure Scotland stays at the forefront of the global fight against climate change by cutting our emissions further and faster.

It says:

“From Hurricanes Irma and Maria, to the deadly floods in South Asia, to the ongoing famine in East Africa, we’ve all seen the grim evidence that climate change is causing more extreme weather events and unpredictable seasons. And it’s hitting the world’s poorest people hardest.

“Climate change is an issue of justice with people in developing countries often most affected by climate change having done the least to cause it.

“Our agencies are supporting some of the world’s poorest women, men and children who find themselves on the front-line of climate change. Yet we know the impact is likely to get significantly worse unless rich countries like Scotland do much more to cut their emissions.

“Scotland can be proud of the efforts made to reduce our emissions so far but the truth is we’ve not done enough.

“We were therefore encouraged when the First Minister stated in her Programme for Government that Scotland has a ‘moral obligation to tackle climate change’. She is right, but these welcome words must now be backed up with significant policy and funding action to substantially reduce our emissions now and in the future.

“Scotland’s new Climate Change Bill is a chance to begin changing the future so it’s fairer for everyone.

“By putting in place a strong Bill, the Scottish Government can also send a powerful message to world leaders that Scotland rejects any back-sliding on global climate commitments. We must show the leadership needed to re-energise and re-focus global efforts to tackle climate change. Scottish Ministers must fully recognise the enormous human toll of climate change and grab this opportunity with both hands by ensuring their new Bill is both bold and ambitious, for the sake of us all.

"We see first-hand the devastating effects of climate change on people already struggling for survival in poor communities across the world. One woman we work with in Nicaragua, Dominga del Carmen Sotelo Vazquez, told us: “Climate change is affecting us. Drought is a big issue; we have lost crops, and rivers have dried up. The water-table has dropped, meaning there is less water in the wells for us to use.

“I would like to ask the Scottish Government to support us. Humans aren’t thinking about what they are doing, they are wasting natural resources. Instead of destroying these resources we should be preserving them and investing in renewable energy.”

Currently, the Scottish Government is aiming for a 90% reduction in emissions by 2050 but campaigning aid agencies like us are supporting SCCS’s call for a 77% reduction in the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 at the latest.