Greta Thunberg: Scotland 'not a world leader on climate change' says young activist ahead of COP26

Activist Greta Thunberg aged 18 has said she does not consider Scotland as a world leader when it comes to climate change ahead of COP26.

Ahead of the COP26 conference in Glasgow in November, the 18-year-old campaigner added that some politicians were “less worse” than others when commenting on the Scottish Greens’ deal to enter government.

The Swedish campaigner told BBC Scotland she recognised some countries "do a bit more than others" but that none were coming close to what is necessary to properly tackle the climate crisis.

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The remarks come after the Scottish government previously described its climate change legislation as "world-leading”.

Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg has said Scotland is not a world leader in tackling the climate crisis.Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg has said Scotland is not a world leader in tackling the climate crisis.
Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg has said Scotland is not a world leader in tackling the climate crisis.

Ms Thunberg also said she was "not 100% sure" that she would attend the COP26 talks later this year, adding that her decision would be based on whether the event was "safe and democratic".

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Talking about what she hopes for COP26, Ms Thunberg said: "It should be all about climate justice and we can't achieve climate justice if everyone is not contributing on the same terms.

"I've spoken to many people who say that they are trying to at least vaccinate all the delegates and make it more accessible. And if that is the case it's left to see, I guess."

During her interview with the BBC, the activist also said she was aware of the controversy about the Cambo oil field west of Shetland.

She said: “It's a bit strange that we are talking about single individual oil fields when the UK is already producing so much oil as it is. It's not just that we need to stop future expansions, we also need to scale down the existing ones if we are to have a chance of avoiding the worst consequences."

Asked whether a quicker energy transition can be achieved without costing tens of thousands of jobs, Thunberg said: "I sure hope so.

"I think we need to envision that. We can't just say that it's not possible, let's just give up. We have to at least try. I don't see that as a reason for not trying."

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Ms Thunberg added that if she were to go to Scotland this November for the talks, she looked forward to seeing the landscapes and meeting people.

Scottish Liberal Democrat climate emergency spokesman Liam McArthur said: “The world’s most famous environmental activist has a point.

“This SNP Government has consistently missed Scotland’s emissions targets.

“To show that they’re serious, the Scottish Government needs to end their support for Heathrow expansion, deliver massive investment in renewables, and put in place a plan for insulating hundreds of thousands of homes every year.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Greta, alongside many thousands of young climate activists across Scotland and indeed the globe, have passionately articulated the urgency with which we must all work to end our contribution to climate change.

“We recognise that every country needs to do more in the face of the global climate emergency and we also agree that the time for action is now.”

He said Nicola Sturgeon was one of the first leaders in the world to declare a global climate emergency, Scotland has halved its greenhouse gas emissions and “set some of the most ambitious legally-binding targets of any country in the world to get the rest of the way to net zero”.

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