Climate change: All political parties must develop serious plans to achieve net-zero carbon emissions – Scotsman comment

The Scottish Green party is full of people who mean well.

However, it is also replete with hard-left politicians opposed to economic growth and people like Lorna Slater, the Scottish Government’s circular economy minister, whose mishandling of the deposit return scheme risks giving a good idea a bad name.

So it is perhaps understandable if some view them as a party which lacks sufficient grounding in the real world. And that might make it tempting to regard climate change – the issue with which Green parties are most closely associated – as a preoccupation mainly of head-in-the-clouds dreamers, something that supposedly ‘hard-headed’ politicians can ignore or just pay lip-service to.

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However, the real people to listen to about global warming are, quite literally, the smartest ones on the planet.

Physicists like the late Professor Stephen Hawking who, responding to Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the Paris climate agreement in 2017, warned: “We are close to the tipping point where global warming becomes irreversible. Trump's action could push the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a temperature of 250 degrees, and raining sulphuric acid.” And economists like Dr Hoesung Lee, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, who said in November last year that climate change was a “threat to the health of our planet and to the well-being of all species inhabiting it”. The scientific evidence, he said, was “unequivocal” with substantial damage having already been caused and “increasingly irreversible losses” on land and sea.

World-leading businesspeople like Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft – who described climate change as “a terrible problem… it absolutely needs to be solved” – also clearly understand the seriousness of the problem.

So all politicians need to be ‘Green’ in the sense that they must confront the reality of climate change. Failure to do so could see some voters turn to the Scottish Greens in despair at the lack of progress, particularly as extreme weather events become harder to ignore. But increasing the influence of hard-left ideas is only likely to damage the economy and, therefore, Scotland’s ability to move to net-zero emissions.

If this is to be achieved in little over 20 years, all parties must devote considerable effort to developing serious, comprehensive and achievable plans that will actually work.



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