Scottish Greens: Don’t let politicians pay lip-service to climate emergency

The climate emergency requires real political bravery and radical action to transform our economy, but it barely got a mention in the election campaign, writes Scottish Green Party co-leader Lorna Slater.

Lorna Slater is co-leader of the Scottish Green Party (Picture: Lisa Ferguson)
Lorna Slater is co-leader of the Scottish Green Party (Picture: Lisa Ferguson)

This election campaign has been short and dirty. It was called so that the Prime Minister could prevent parliament from looking too closely at his Brexit withdrawal bill, weeks after he illegally prorogued parliament to prevent it from doing its job of holding him to account.

No wonder the media coverage has been so focused on Boris Johnson’s calamitous Brexit. No wonder he’s avoided debates and interviews.

But the very real danger to all of us has been largely ignored in this election. Climate science demands that in the next ten years we radically change our economy to restrict the emissions that are warming the planet, and warming it to levels that within our lifetimes will mean the sea will have swallowed many square miles of our cities and hundreds and thousands of people and businesses will have to be relocated.

Yet this has barely warranted a mention on the campaign trail from the parties who aspire to govern. The climate emergency was not even mentioned during the debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn.

The Westminster system is failing Scotland and failing the planet.

From Channel 4’s climate debate to climate hustings across the country, the Conservatives have refused to even turn up. But they are not the only ones ignoring the science. Labour councillors backed a new coal mine in Cumbria, the Liberal Democrats are led by a woman who would use nuclear weapons. All these parties have refused to put a date on the end of oil and gas extraction.

Nicola Sturgeon told TV audiences that the just transition away from fossil fuels is “underway”. That is simply not true, when North Sea extraction is rising, transport emissions are up, and climate targets are being missed. Where are the new jobs in the clean industries of the future?

Instead, SNP MPs lobby for more subsidy for oil and gas. They too ignore the science.

In this election, it is only the Greens who have a distinctive vision for our future.

We are the ones with a plan to build a cleaner, fairer more prosperous country, to realign our economy behind efforts to tackle the climate emergency and create the jobs needed to drive that economy. Things could be so different. We can work shorter hours, build things to last, put care of one another and wellbeing at the centre of our economic planning.

Greens would end the subsidies of oil and gas and use the money to begin a real, meaningful transition for our communities, creating new jobs in renewables and manufacturing.

We would upgrade our housing stock with better insulation and zero-carbon heating to ensure warm homes that are inexpensive to heat.

We would tackle unequal pay, because extreme wealth is part of the problem, not the solution.

Make no mistake, this is a bold proposal. That is because the climate emergency requires political bravery, not lip service.

Rather than bickering over Brexit, politicians should be building a better, sustainable future. A vote for the Scottish Greens on Thursday is the loudest way you can demand climate action.