Lorna Slater: COP26 draft agreement 'devastating' as UK 'shows absolute lack of leadership' says Scottish Greens co-leader

Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater said the UK had shown “an absolute lack of leadership” and the “watering down” on fossil fuels in the draft agreement was “devastating” as negotiations neared the final stages.

Lorna Slater, the Scottish Greens co-leader, has said the UK has shown ‘an absolute lack of leadership’ and the ‘watering down’ on fossil fuels in the COP26 draft agreement is ‘devastating.'
Lorna Slater, the Scottish Greens co-leader, has said the UK has shown ‘an absolute lack of leadership’ and the ‘watering down’ on fossil fuels in the COP26 draft agreement is ‘devastating.'

On the final day of COP26 in Glasgow, Ms Slater said it was “devastating” to see a backing off from fossil fuels in the draft agreement of COP26.

Her comments came as a revised draft agreement was published on Friday morning that softened the language around phasing out coal and fossil fuel.

The text previously said the world should aim to keep global warming temperatures under 1.5C.

However, this has now been changed to make the goal simply limiting the temperature increase “to 1.5C”.

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Despite disappointment in the draft agreement, the Scottish minister said “Glasgow can feel really proud” of the job it had done in hosting the conference.

Speaking from the SEC in Glasgow, Ms Slater, the minister for green skills, circular economy and biodiversity said: "It’s all been watered down. It’s really upsetting.

"We really are calling on the countries of the world to level it up, not water it back.

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“We had to cancel a Green meeting today as some of the Green ministers across the world were in the room today trying to save the deal and level it up.”

Despite the promises made at COP26 so far, the planet is still heading for 2.4C of warming above pre-industrial levels, according to a report by Climate Action Tracker.

Asked about whether the draft agreement was good enough for Scotland, Ms Slater told The Scotsman: “It isn’t just about Scotland, it’s about the whole world and what we’ve seen with the watering down is the world’s richest nations, the global north – the world’s oil and gas producers, are looking out for their own interests.

"That’s devastating for our friends and neighbours in the global south and absolutely catastrophic for the small island nations.

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"I’m really distressed that the global north hasn’t stepped up and fought globally.

"It’s not good enough for it just to be good for Scotland. It needs to be good for everybody. We are all humans, we all share the same planet.”

Talking about the UK Government’s handling of the talks, the Greens minister said Prime Minister Boris Johnson “dropped the ball”, while Nicola Sturgeon had “set Scotland’s place on the world stage”.

Ms Slater said Scotland should have had more of a place at the table during these talks, adding: “We’ve seen no leadership from the UK Government at all. Boris Johnson says one thing and then gets on a plane to go have dinner with a climate denier.

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"Boris Johnson is not pushing his government to do anything. He has absolutely dropped the ball and if you look at the amount of work the First Minister has done this week – she’s been everywhere, she’s talked to everyone – she’s really setting Scotland’s place on the world stage and I’m really proud to be part of her government this week.

“We are embarrassed all the time by Boris Johnson and I think Scotland’s done a really good job.”

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