Young Scots head for climate summit in Morocco

Elizabeth Dirth, Chris Palmer, Lynette Purves, Kerry-Anne McKay and Mike Elm are attending the UN climate summit in Morroco
Elizabeth Dirth, Chris Palmer, Lynette Purves, Kerry-Anne McKay and Mike Elm are attending the UN climate summit in Morroco
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A team of young Scots are in Morocco this week after being invited to take part in one of the most important environmental events in the world.

The 2050 Climate Group is a collection of young professionals from across Scotland who share a commitment to fighting climate change and helping the nation move towards a greener economy.

Their mission is to create a social movement focused on tackling the challenges of global warming by educating and empowering Scotland’s future leaders to take action.

They will be rubbing shoulders with international leaders, business chiefs and scientific experts at the annual United Nations climate summit, which kicks off in Marrakech tomorrow.

They are the only Scottish organisation chosen to speak at the event, which runs until 18 November.

Nearly 200 countries – responsible for more than 95 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions – met in France for the 2015 conference.

Negotiations led to the Paris Agreement, which requires signatories to commit to keeping a global temperature rise this century “well below” 2C above pre-industrial levels and attempt to limit warming even further, to 1.5C.

The momentum that followed saw 175 countries formally sign the agreement during a ceremony in New York hosted by UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon in April. However, each country was then required to ratify the agreement.

The agreement, the first-ever global accord on climate change, formally came into force on Friday.

It has already been ratified by more than 100 countries, including top emitters China, the United States and India.

But this year’s summit is arguably even more important, with the task of working out how to turn strong words into action.

Representatives from the 197 countries that helped craft the Paris deal are already working to come up with implementation plans.

The 2050 Climate Group will be making their own contribution at the Conference of Parties.

Their work includes the new Young Leaders Development Programme, which First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described as “a world first” and a “mark of our determination to ensure that Scotland continues to be at the forefront of progress toward a truly sustainable model of economic growth”.

Climate policy consultant Elizabeth Dirth, chair of the 2050 Climate Group, said: “Scotland continues to provide an example of climate change leadership at this crucial time to the international community.

“However, meeting our own 2020 emissions targets is not enough to tackle the global challenge of climate change.

“Our Young Leaders Development Programme, which we have been invited to speak about, is just one example of the way that climate change leadership needs to move beyond just emission reductions targets to be aspiring to more transformational changes.”