Scotland

About Stop Climate Chaos Scotland

We believe that the Scottish Government should take bold action to tackle climate change, with Scotland delivering our fair share of action in response to the Paris Agreement and supporting climate justice around the world.

In 2018, SCCS is campaigning for an ambitious new Climate Change Bill for Scotland. Find out more about the Act for our Future campaign.

Our structure

We welcome applications for membership of our coalition from organisations in Scotland, of any shape and size. The main requirement of membership is a commitment to climate action. Find out about our members

SCCS operates through our working groups, which are made up of people representing our member organisations, usually staff members or volunteers from those organisations. These working groups plan and deliver our campaign activities. We also have a small staff team based in Edinburgh who co-ordinate and manage the work of our coalition.

The Board of SCCS is elected by the coalition membership and provides strategic direction for the coalition as well as overseeing organisational matters. There are currently 12 board members. Find out more about our board

We have close links with The Climate Coalition in England and work with them on cross-border issues when appropriate.  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. 

Our history

Our coalition came together in around 2007 to provide a strong civil society voice feeding into the development of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009. Watch our short video to find out more about how SCCS, as the largest civil society coalition in Scotland, influenced Scotland's climate law.  

Since that Act was passed, SCCS has done a great deal of work to ensure that the commitments set out in the 2009 Climate Act become a reality. Following the new international deal on climate change, the Paris Agreement of 2015, we are now focused on ensuring that Scotland plays its fair part in delivering on the Paris Agreement.  

Read more about our previous campaigns.

Our funding

SCCS’ running costs are relatively low as we have a small staff team and are hosted in the office of one of our member organisations. Our members pay a fee to us and this covers the day-to-day running costs of our coalition. Our members may also make additional donations to our work for specific campaigns. We occasionally seek external funding for specific activities. These issues are all covered in our annual accounts.

Read our latest accounts (2016-17) in PDF format.

SCCS is a charity registered in Scotland, number SCO39643

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.
 

 

Scots respond to broken climate promise by urging Government 'Get your Act together'

Scots from across the length and breadth of the country gathered today at the Scottish Parliament (Thursday 25th October) to demonstrate their concern at the Scottish Government’s failure to meet the very first emissions target set under the Climate Change Act (Scotland).

The message to Alex Salmond and his Government was clear: Scotland’s claim to have ‘world-leading’ legislation is undermined by the first legally-binding target being missed, and there is insufficient action to get back on track.

Government falls short of getting climate change promise back on track

The Scottish Government has failed to sufficiently use today’s draft Budget as an opportunity to turn things around and get Scotland back on track to meet future climate change targets, one of Scotland’s largest civil society coalitions has highlighted.

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) has said that despite the Government’s own admission that Scotland has already failed to reach its first greenhouse gas emission reduction target, today’s announcement shows it has not taken sufficiently seriously the need for strong action, despite some encouraging moves in the right direction.

Climate is right for Scotland to make amends

Opinion piece in the Scotsman

Tackling climate change is fundamentally a matter of justice. The historical responsibility for causing climate change lies with western countries, including Scotland.

As we industrialised, we improved our standards of living, our health and our wealth. But our high-carbon lifestyles have created increased levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which are causing global temperatures to rise.

Scottish Government has heard our campaign asks: more funding announced for cycling and walking

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland welcomes today’s announcement from John Swinney that an additional £13m over three years, compared to the Budget Bill published last month, will be allocated to sustainable and active travel. However, we note that this is still a cut on the funding available for this work in the current year.

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

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