Climate change: Scotland needs a can-do attitude to cutting carbon emissions – Scotsman comment

One of the last refuges of climate change deniers in the UK – excluding those who have entirely lost the power of reason – is to suggest that British emissions are too small to make much difference.

The fishing industry, like all others, needs a can-do attitude towards fighting climate change (Picture: David Cheskin/PA)
The fishing industry, like all others, needs a can-do attitude towards fighting climate change (Picture: David Cheskin/PA)

In 2018, the UK produced 1.1 per cent of global emissions and that may not sound like a lot.

However, it should be obvious this is a statistic quoted out of context that is important if it is to be properly understood, namely the proportion of the world’s population who live in the UK.

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That figure is 0.87 per cent, which means people in Britain are responsible for significantly more emissions than the average human on the planet and are therefore required to make major changes if dangerous climate change is to be avoided.

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In an article in The Scotsman today, the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation chief executive Elspeth Macdonald complains it is being treated as a “water-borne bogeyman” by environmental groups despite the fleet being what she described as a low-carbon one, responsible for just 0.38 per cent of the emissions produced by 29 million UK households.

While she welcomes efforts to accelerate development of zero-emission vessels and says “we can raise our game, and we will”, the overall tone of her article is one of resistance to change.

It is possible this is a reaction to unfair pressure, something environmentalists should beware of inducing.

However, industry leaders in all sectors, big or small, need to realise change is imperative and the quicker the process begins in earnest, the easier it will be. There is no time left for a ‘can’t do’ attitude by anyone.

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