Local action puts focus on global climate change, writes Gail Wilson
When was the last time that you showed your colours? Was it at a football match, a political party conference or by standing up for personal issue that you believed in? For example, did you help out with refugee appeals or get involved in the independence referendum debate?
Our communities and our planet are shaped by people standing up for their principles and taking action – by pushing for change because they believe it is the right and just thing to do.
In two weeks time, around the world people will take to the streets to show that they care about the fate of people they will never meet from places that they will never visit. They know that changing the climate will lead to more extreme, unpredictable weather that endangers the lives and livelihoods of millions. They will highlight how many of the world’s governments have just offered pledges to tackle climate change that still put us on course for almost 3 degrees C of temperature rises.
Shortly after these marches, the 21st round of United Nations negotiations begins in Paris aiming to secure a global agreement on tackling climate change. These talks are important because they will provide the framework for the concerted international effort to begin in 2020. They are supposed to produce plans for emission cuts, technical and financial support for the developing world and provide help and compensation for climatic changes.
The marchers around the world will be demanding that the negotiating positions adopted by rich industrialised nations become more equitable and more ambitious. They want the countries that have benefited most from fossil fuel development to take their fair share of responsibility for this crisis.
They also recognise that these wealthy countries, who are able to bail out reckless bankers, car manufacturers and invest billions in weapons, must provide more climate finance to developing economies. This money will enable these countries to avoid dirty solutions to their energy needs (and instead invest in renewables), to adapt to the effects of a changing climate, and to compensate them where the loss and damage cannot be overcome.
Closer to home, Scottish politicians have done well in setting ambitious goals but they have fallen short of their commitments so far. The time has also come for them to show their colours and produce the policies to deliver on their promises. The Stop Climate Chaos Scotland 2016 manifesto outlines ideas that will help politicians set robust, credible plans necessary for a thriving, fairer, low carbon economy.
The challenging policy-asks cover energy efficiency, including a Warm Homes Act, support for low carbon infrastructure, an ambitious action plan for Land Use, a shift from private cars to public transport and active travel, and using new Air Passenger Duty powers to cut emissions.
Scotland’s world-leading Climate Bill was achieved through a push from a broad movement of civil society organisations, businesses and individuals.
We want as many as possible of these groups and citizens to come together on November 28th in Edinburgh to join global marches in demanding that world leaders produce the right deal in Paris. This family-friendly march is for everyone and will include all those concerned about climate change. There will be people of every generation and every section of society.
We are asking people to wear their brightest colours - as concerted, urgent and significant climate action can and will lead to a brighter future.
• Gail Wilson, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland Campaigns Manager