The Scottish and UK governments must step up their efforts
SCIAF has called on the Scottish and UK governments to step up their efforts to tackle the devastating effects of climate change by prioritising a just and green post-COVID-19 recovery.
This comes ahead of the 5th anniversary of the Paris Agreement on 12 Dec, which saw nations come together to commit to ambitious targets to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and as the UK prepares for its presidency of COP26, the United Nations Climate Change summit due to be held in Glasgow in November next year.
The targets agreed at the Summit in 2015 were to help prevent ‘run away’ climate change by keeping global temperature rises to well below two degrees and ideally limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Leading Scientists have warned that breaching this limit will lead to major changes in our climate with catastrophic consequences.
Yesterday, the UK’s Committee on Climate Change also said that for Britain to be on track for net zero emissions by mid-century, it must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 78% by 2035 from 1990 levels.
We see first-hand the huge impact climate change is having on some of the world’s poorest communities with whom we work. Many families depend on farming to survive but struggle to grow enough food to feed themselves. The once predictable rains are erratic and may not come at all, while more frequent and severe storms, droughts or floods can wipe out their homes and harvests overnight.
Every crisis hits the world’s poorest people hardest. The twin crises of climate change and the coronavirus are no different.
We have a chance, however, to fix our broken world by prioritising a fair and green post-COVID-19 recovery that works for people and our precious planet. Huge sums of money are being allocated to stimulate the economy and protect jobs, and the decisions we make today will have a huge bearing for years to come. We must choose to build a sustainable future by investing in a recovery which also helps to make our common home healthier and more resilient - not weaker and more unstable.
Action is needed at every level in society and we urge political leaders to show leadership by opting for durable solutions to climate change and the major crises we’re facing. We need to rethink the way we live and treat our environment.
For our ‘new normal’ to be successful, our governments must start putting the health of the planet and the world’s poorest people at the heart of all decisions. The time to act is now.
Over 1,300 of the charity’s supporters have added their names to an open letter to the First Minister and the Prime Minister laying out a positive vision for a more sustainable and prosperous future for all.
The demands include:
- greater support for vulnerable communities battling with climate change and the coronavirus
- prioritising jobs and industries that help to meet targets agreed in the Paris Agreement
- allocating appropriate levels of funding for Scotland’s Climate Justice Fund
- using the UK’s COP26 presidency to leverage support for greater financial and political support for tackling climate change
We also undertook a Christmas themed photo stunt with an oversized postcard addressed to the First Minister and the Prime Minister to reinforce our call for a just and green future.
Geraldine Hill and Jonathan McAveety of SCIAF pose with an oversized postcard addressed to the First Minister and the Prime Minister to push for a just and green post-COVID-19 recovery. Credits: SCIAF