Scottish Government risks undermining its own plans

The Scottish Government is being urged not to backtrack on Scotland’s world-leading climate change laws, and to seriously consider the wider implications as it allocates resources in this today’s draft Budget.

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, a coalition of over 60 organisations in Scotland, is arguing that with previous spending commitments focusing heavily around road-building, motorised vehicles, and a second forth bridge crossing, greater financial priority should now be placed on measures to tackle climate change as a matter of urgency.

The climate change coalition has expressed concern that if the Scottish Government does not allocate sufficient funding in Wednesday’s Budget and Spending Review, then the Scottish Climate Change Act of 2009 - the strongest of any industrialised country in the world - will mean very little.

And the Government is being warned that the time to put words into action is now. The urgency is required in order to address a number of disastrous social and economic impacts of not tackling climate change - including rising sea levels and increased risk of floods, stronger storms and increased storm damage, the extinction of 25% of species by 2050, increased spread of infectious diseases, and the rising health costs associated with air pollution.

Strong, early action on climate change will not only be cost-effective in the longer-term, but will bring with it a multitude of other positive health and social benefits for people in Scotland, such as a reduction in annual health costs, higher productivity, reduced traffic congestion, and the creation of low carbon jobs.

Tom Ballantine, Chair of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, said:

“We have continued to promote the Scottish Climate Change Act as an example to other countries around the world. But unless the Scottish Government’s own plans, as a bare minimum, are fully funded in this Budget, then Scotland will not be on course to meet its targets and play its fair part in avoiding dangerous climate change.

“This is an ideal opportunity for the Scottish Government to make good on their promises and demonstrate that they are serious in their commitment to reducing emissions. We would be extremely concerned if they were to backtrack now and not fully fund their own plans.”

“Every day that Scotland continues releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, increases our climate debt to those in the poorest countries who have played little or no part in creating the problem, but are already suffering most from its effects.

“We firmly believe that tackling climate change is one of the most important pieces of preventative spending that Scotland, and the rest of the world, can and should make, and we urge the Scottish Government to adequately fund climate change action – as a minimum - according to its own plans.”

Ends

Notes:

1. The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, which was passed with the unanimous support of all political parties, set in law Scotland’s commitment to take action to tackle global warming. The Act included ambitious targets to reduce our emissions by 42% by 2020 and 80% by 2050 (compared to 1990 levels).

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