Scottish Government ‘should put its money where its mouth is on climate change’

Firefighter combats a fire in the Amazon basin in the municipality Sorriso, Mato Grosso State, Brazil, on August 26, 2019. Picture: Mayke TOSCANO / Mato Grosso State Communication Department / AFP
Firefighter combats a fire in the Amazon basin in the municipality Sorriso, Mato Grosso State, Brazil, on August 26, 2019. Picture: Mayke TOSCANO / Mato Grosso State Communication Department / AFP
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Friends of the Earth Scotland have today called on Nicola Sturgeon to back up her commitment to tackling the climate emergency by implementing a radical Programme for Government that will significantly reduce harmful climate emissions within the next decade.

The environmental group has produced a suite of policy ideas that would ensure Scotland strengthens and delivers on its fair share of climate action.

Richard Dixon from Friends of the Earth Scotland is seeking a commitment to a zero-carbon economy

Richard Dixon from Friends of the Earth Scotland is seeking a commitment to a zero-carbon economy

These include: ending support for new North Sea oil and gas; setting an end date for fossil-fuelled heating systems in homes; free bus travel for all; and ensuring that decommissioning and renewable energy jobs are kept in Scotland.

The group highlight a statement made in May by the Secretary for Climate Change Roseanna Cunningham, who told the Scottish Parliament that “the Scottish Government will be placing climate change at the heart of everything that we do. I can confirm that it will be at the core of our next programme for government and spending review.”

The ambitious list of ideas from FoES also includes measures to set improved targets in the current Climate Bill, cut use of natural resources and enact a full legal ban on fracking. Friends of the Earth Scotland Director Dr Richard Dixon said: “This week’s Programme for government is the Scottish Government’s opportunity to deliver on their fine words about the climate emergency. With school strikes and street protests, the public demand for radical action is enormous and the science is clear that climate emissions must be drastically reduced within the next decade.

“With the eyes of the world expected to focus on Scotland next year for the UN Climate Conference in Glasgow, the Scottish Government should put its money where its mouth is on tackling climate change and implement these recommendations.

“The Scottish Government must end its support for the oil and gas companies who want to drill every drop from the North Sea and instead plan a managed phase-out of extraction and implement a just transition for those workers and communities currently reliant on this sector.

“The government can no longer turn a blind eye to the damage caused by the fossil fuels produced just off our shores.”

Dixon added that the transition to a zero-carbon economy has “huge potential” to deliver new, green jobs for Scotland from developing renewable energy infrastructure to decommissioning North Sea oil infrastructure.

He added: “The public will be forced to pick up the bill for decommissioning so the least they can expect is that this money is spent in the UK and creates new facilities and jobs here.

“Transport is Scotland’s most polluting sector and our bus sector has been losing millions of passengers in recent years.

“Making bus travel free for everyone would reduce climate and air pollution, slash congestion, save money in the health service, and ensure that everyone can access work, family and social activities irrespective of income.

“By committing to stop heating our homes with fossil fuels we’ll send a clear message that the era of fossil fuels is coming to an end.

“This should begin with their ban in all new-build homes, then through a phase-out of like-for-like replacements of oil and gas boilers and cookers.

“This must be delivered in tandem with a programme that lifts people out of fuel poverty and ensures every home is super energy efficient.

Dixon concluded, by saying that these steps would deliver a “jobs-rich, better connected, healthier Scotland that meets its international responsibilities.”