Scotland

Beacons: stories for our not so distant future

Throughout history, writers have been spokespeople for social change, and with global warming a real threat to our planet, now is no different. With specially commissioned stories, many of the UK’s foremost writers address our most pertinent problem.

From Joanne Harris’ techno-dystopia, where parks and bees are no more, to the soldiers paroling the ravaged Welsh landscapes of Jem Poster’s ‘Visitation’, we’re shown our world, altered. Toby Litt uses the analogy of a knickerbocker glory to explain what we’re all about, and Nick Hayes tells the tale of a mysterious woodland hart through striking illustrations in his graphic story.

This is a stunning collection of writing that will shock, amaze and entertain in equal measure.  All royalties go to Stop Climate Chaos.

Latest news from Scotland

'We Want to See Double' - we got there!, 21st December 2017
 
Huge majority call for zero emissions by 2050 target for Scotland, 18th December 2017
 
Scottish Budget should be climate-proof, 11th December 2017
 
SCCS blog: What do the UN climate talks mean for action in Scotland?, 30th November 2017
 
SCCS blog: Connecting the dots for a fairer, greener future (external website), 30th November 2017
 
Blog from UN climate talks in Bonn (external website), 17th November 2017
 
First Minister calls for urgent and early action on climate change, 15th November 2017
 
SCCS welcomes news that First Minister will go to UN climate conference, 31st October 2017
 
New report calls for more climate action from Scottish Government, 25th September 2017
 
Over 17,000 call for Scotland to lead on climate change, 20th September 2017
 
SCCS Climate Bill blog: Engineering a Zero Carbon Future?, 15th September 2017
 
SCCS Climate Bill blog: A climate act for all our futures, 12th September 2017
 
SCCS Climate Bill blog: Warm homes, 8th September 2017
 
SCCS Climate Bill blog: Too much of a good thing, 7th September 2017
 
SCCS response to 2017-18 Programme for Government 6th September 2017
 
Thousands urge Scottish Government to raise their ambition on climate change 23rd August 2017
 
SCCS calls for ambition in new Climate Change Bill - letter to First Minister 18th August 2017
 
Scots urged to Act For Our Future 5th July 2017
 
Coalition calls for Scotland to commit to zero emissions by 2050 13 June 2017
 
Scotland Hits Climate Emissions Targets 13 June 2017
 
Joint Statement on the Paris Agreement, 6 June 2017
 
Blog: Climate change - can the way we farm be part of the solution? 14 March 2017
 
Stop Climate Chaos welcomes MSP recommendations to improve Scotland's climate plan, 10 March 2017
 
Scottish Parliament committees to publish reports on climate change plan, 9 March 2017
 
Scots 'Show the Love' for life that climate change threatens, 7 February 2017
 
Scotland's new climate change plan - campaigners welcome vision of low-carbon society, but more work needed to achieve it, 19 January 2017
 
Campaigners call for swift action after UN Climate Conference in Marrakech, 19 November 2016
 
 
Next >
 

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland policy

 
 
 
 
SCCS briefings on our headline asks for the Climate Change Bill:
Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 at the latest
 
Air Quality Inquiry evidence to Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform committee, August 2017
 
Air Departure Tax Bill
 
Scottish Energy Strategy consultations:
- Response to 'Talking Fracking' consultation, May 2017
- Response to Scotland's Energy Efficiency Programme (SEEP) consultation, May 2017
April 2017
 
March 2017
 
Draft Climate Change Plan - our evidence to Parliamentary committees: (Feb 2017)
 
February 2017
 
 
February 2017

SCCS Recommendations for Scotland's Climate Change Plan, Oct 2016

June 2016
 
June 2016
 
June 2016
 
May 2016
 
February 2016
 
January 2016
 
 

About Stop Climate Chaos Scotland

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) played a key role in the development of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, which remains the strongest climate change legislation in the world.  Watch our short video to find out more about how SCCS, as the largest civil society coalition in Scotland, influenced Scotland's climate laws. 

SCCS is now working to ensure that the commitments set out in the Scottish Climate Change Act become a reality and that Scotland meets its targets to reduce emissions by 42% by 2020 and 80% by 2050.   

The latest figures show that the Scottish Government failed to meet the first, not particularly challenging, emissions target set under the Act - indeed emissions increased rather than decreased in 2010.  This underlines the need for continued pressure from civil society across Scotland to hold the Government to account and deliver on its climate commitments.
 
Scotland’s own emissions account for only a relatively small percentage of the global total, so SCCS is also working to push the Scottish legislation as an example for other developed countries to follow.
 
We have close links with The Climate Coalition in England and work with them on cross-border issues whenever we can.  But Scotland faces many challenges relating to climate change that are quite different from England and Wales. Much that affects climate change emissions and adaptation is devolved from Westminster to Holyrood, for example housing, transport, energy and education.  The cultural, educational, legal, social and geographical context is different and Scotland’s renewable energy potential is considerable.  
 
 

 

Get your Act together!

 

On 29th January 2013, the Government's draft plan for meeting Scotland's climate change targets were published.  Stop Climate Chaos has analysed this and does not believe this is a credible plan for reducing Scotland's emissions according to the Scottish Climate Change Act.  We need Government to 'Get its Act together!' on climate change.  During February, people across Scotland met with and wrote to their MSPs highlighting their concerns about this plan.  Thanks to everyone who go involved in that action.

 

The Scottish Parliament has now considered the Scottish Government's draft plans to reduce Scotland's greenhouse gas emissions and has made recommendations on how these plans can be improved.  The Scottish Government will then publish the final version of its plans to reduce emissions between now and 2027.  Stop Climate Chaos has joined with others to highlight the need for more action to reduce emissions from the transport sector in particular.  You can read more about this in our Parliamentary briefing on this topic.

Check out our 'Get your Act together!' video:
 
Clicks through to Youtube
 
 'Get your Act together!' mass lobby of the Scottish Parliament
The Stop Climate Chaos mass lobby was an opportunity for people from all across Scotland to meet with their politicians in the Scottish Parliament and call on them to ‘Get their Act together’ and ensure the Government delivers on the Scottish Climate Change Act. Thanks to everyone who took part on Thursday 25th October.
 
Here's our short video of the event:
 
Clicks through to Youtube
 
The event was a great success, with people from every region of Scotland represented and over 50 MSPs in attendance! The #gyat Twitter storm raged throughout the event, allowing those who couldn't attend in person to let their climate concerns be known to politicians. Thanks again to everyone who took part and helped to send a clear message to Parliament and Government that there is strong public support for more action on climate change.
 
To receive updates about this campaign, and other work by Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, email: gail@stopclimatechaosscotland.org.

 

Frequently Asked Questions on climate change

 

Climate change science


Is climate change happening?

Yes. The scientific evidence that the world is getting warmer is overwhelming. Tree rings, glaciers and other natural sources, as well as human records, show that climate has changed considerably over the past few centuries, but the ten warmest years on record have occurred since 1998 [1].

These measurements are borne out by retreating snow cover and glaciers, rising sea levels (due to water expanding as it warms and loss of land-based ice), and increasing extremes of dry and wet weather, leading to ever more frequent droughts, heat waves and flooding across the world [2].

Is climate change definitely caused by human activity, not by natural phenomena?

Scientists have mapped everything from sun spot activity, planetary orbits, polar shift and volcanic activity to see if something else explains the change. They have also considered the effect of natural climate variations, such as El Niño and La Niña (which cause warming and cooling of the Pacific Ocean surface). Scientists conclude that only the increasing trend of atmospheric CO2 concentrations is big enough to match (almost perfectly) the global temperature trend.

CO2 and other gases such as methane in the earth’s atmosphere capture heat that would otherwise escape to space: the ‘greenhouse effect’. The dramatic growth of CO2 in the atmosphere has been caused by human activities such as deforestation and industrial burning of fossil fuels [3]. All of this is clear from the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – the scientific body, made up of thousands of climate scientists across the world, that was set up to provide a clear scientific view on the current state of knowledge of climate change and its potential environmental, social and economic impacts [4].

If the planet’s warming, why have we had more snow during recent winters?

The particularly cold winters of 2009–10 and 2010–11 have been interpreted by some as evidence against global warming. However, local weather in one part of the world is not an indicator of global climatic trends.  Scientists record the increase in global climate by averaging measurements from all over the world. So the global climate is not the same as weather in individual places.

What global temperature is safe?

Scientists predict that, if global temperatures rise more than 2°C over pre-industrial levels, extreme droughts, floods and heat waves will become more frequent and 20-30% of species face a high risk of extinction [5].  Loss of water resources, disruption to agriculture, forest fires, flooding by rising sea levels, and wider damage to ecosystems could reach catastrophic levels.

Currently, global temperatures have risen by 0.75°C since the start of the twentieth century [6]. And as these are global averages, temperatures in some regions, particularly the Arctic, have increased considerably more. The problem is that the hotter it gets, the more likely we are to experience ‘feedbacks’ (see below) in natural systems, in which huge stores of CO2 or methane are released because of warming temperatures, resulting in even greater temperature change.  So what sound like small global average temperature changes could have huge impacts.

What are these feedbacks?

There are many potential feedbacks which can cause accelerated global warming. For instance: 

  • Polar ice and snow reflects sunlight, whereas sea water, which increases as polar ice and snow melts, absorbs sunlight;
  • Forests and soils dry out and burn, releasing CO2 and absorbing less;
  • Permafrost heats up, releasing methane;
  • Seas warm up and become more acidic, releasing stored CO2.

What was the ‘Climategate’ email hacking in 2009 all about?

In November 2009, 1,000 private emails and documents were stolen or leaked from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit. Select contents were used by some to suggest that scientists had been manipulating or hiding data. As a result of the various official investigations that took place, the scientists were absolved of fiddling their results and trying to silence their critics, but they were criticised for not working in a more open, accessible manner.

However, all the unit’s scientific findings which supported the view that global warming is human-induced were found to be correct and reliable [7].

How credible are the challenges to the science from climate ‘sceptics’ or ‘deniers’?

Every academy of science in the world agrees that human activities are the primary cause of global warming [8].

Challenges from climate deniers look even less credible when they refuse to reveal how their activities are funded. For instance the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a particularly prominent climate change sceptic think tank headed by Lord Lawson, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, has refused several Freedom of Information requests for more openness about its operations, including the identity of its financial backers [9].

More information on this topic is available at www.skepticalscience.com.

Aren’t we in Scotland only 0.2% of global CO2?

The UK Government claims that Scotland is responsible for 0.2% of global CO2, but this doesn’t take our global impact into full account. Whilst Scotland’s overall contribution to greenhouse gas emissions is small, as a developed nation we have a disproportionately high carbon footprint per head of population. Our footprint also goes well beyond our national borders, both in terms of the goods we import from elsewhere, and Scottish business operations based abroad.

As a developed nation which has benefited from the industrial revolution, we have a responsibility to reduce our carbon emissions. We have a world-leading climate change law and  expertise in, for example, renewable energy technologies to export, and natural resources to utilise, that enable us to deliver our world-leading ambitions on climate change.

Where are most emissions coming from?

Scottish emissions increased in 2010 (latest figures available as at March 2013) compared to the previous year, but overall are 24% lower now than in 1990 (the baseline year for calculating reductions) [10].  The transport and home energy and power sectors are the only areas where emissions are higher now than they were in 1990.  

In terms of worldwide emissions, highest emissions levels per capita are small, rich, energy-intensive countries like Qatar, which in 2009 emitted nearly 80 tonnes of CO2 per person, compared to the UK’s 8 tonnes, Australia’s 20 tonnes, Canada’s 19 and the United States’ 18 tonnes per person [11].

 

References:
 

[2] For a more detailed overview, see Public Interest Research Centre (PIRC), Climate Factsheets (PIRC, 2010), pp. 10-13, 16-19.

[3] The Royal Society, Climate Change: A Summary of the Science (The Royal Society, 2010), royalsociety.org/uploadedFiles/Royal_Society_Content/policy/publications/2010/4294972962.pdf

[4] IPCC, 2007: Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-spm.pdf

[5] IPCC, 2007: Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg2/ar4-wg2-spm.pdf

[6] Met Office, How has our climate changed?, www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate-change/guide/how

[7] For a good introduction, see The Guardian, 7.7.10, www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jul/07/climate-emails-question-answer

[8] Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand, Haydn Washington and John Cook

[10] UK Committee on Climate Change, March 2013, Second Scottish Progress Report, P13,  www.theccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/1674_CCC_Scots-Report_bookmarked_2.pdf

[11] The Guardian, World carbon dioxide emissions data by country, January 2011, www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/jan/31/world-carbon-dioxide-emissions-country-data-co2

 

Procurement law can help reduce emissions

Civil society priorities for the Procurement Reform Bill

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland has joined forces with STUC, Enough Food for Everyone IF, SCVO and the Scottish Fair Trade Forum to identify our combined top 10 priorities for the Procurement Reform Bill.  
 

Introduction

“Scotland has set world leading targets in our Climate Change legislation and we have the opportunity to show similar leadership in sustainable procurement.”
Scottish Government's Sustainable Procurement Action Plan, 2009The Scottish Government is currently preparing plans for a new law on how over £9bn of public funds in Scotland are spent: the Procurement Reform Bill. Stop Climate Chaos Scotland is concerned that the initial intention behind this Bill, to achieve more sustainable procurement, has been lost. Indeed, this change of focus is reflected in the renaming of the proposed Bill from Sustainable Procurement Bill to Procurement Reform Bill.
 
In summer 2012, the latest figures confirmed that Scottish emissions had increased and, indeed, the first legally-binding target set under the Scottish Climate Change Act had been missed. The proposed Bill could provide an opportunity to deliver significant emissions reductions in Scotland, contributing towards emissions targets.
 
There is positive work being done on sustainable procurement in Scotland, within and outside the public sector, but this lacks strategic drive, or a rigorous, cohesive and ambitious approach from government.
 
The Bill must be used as a framework to help facilitate a shift to Scotland’s public sector carrying out its business in an environmentally and socially sustainable manner. This would then be a Procurement Reform Bill worthy of its name in terms of progress towards sustainability of Scotland’s government and public sector performance.
 
Key points
 
  • This is a key opportunity for Scotland to deliver on climate change targets and signal a clear shift towards a low carbon economy.
  • This Bill must clearly set a strategic intention and purpose of government to procure all its products, materials and services sustainably.
  • The Bill must provide a legal framework to facilitate and achieve the transition towards sustainable procurement, with clarity on how environmental benefits will be safeguarded.
  • The Bill must give proper importance to environmental benefits alongside social and economic benefits.
  • Sustainable procurement requires an integrated approach from the start of the procurement process.
 
SCCS responded to the Scottish Government's Procurement Reform Bill Consultation.  Read the full  Stop Climate Chaos Scotland consultation response.
 

 

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