Beware 'axis of whataboutery' on climate, warn Scottish Greens

All parties must work together to prioritise our climate.

The Scottish Greens are warning voters and business leaders to be on their guard against climate denialism and those with vested interests as a push to “get the hard stuff done” on climate emissions enters a critical new phase. 

Getting the balance right between delivering on legally and morally binding climate targets and the opportunities for sustainable new jobs to grow a renewable economy will draw continued criticism from opponents on the right, they predict. 

That’s despite the positive work underway in Scotland to help ensure people have healthier and warmer homes as the norm, reduce their energy bills and cut emissions, and rolling out financial support for households to do so.

Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie, Scottish Government Minister for zero carbon buildings, active travel and tenants’ rights, will lay out plans to eliminate fossil fuels from heating by 2045 later this week.

His colleague Mark Ruskell MSP, the Scottish Greens’ spokesperson for both climate and environment, said it would prove a pivotal moment for Scotland’s clean heat ambitions.

Mr Ruskell said: “Influential people talk about a need to tackle the climate crisis, create a sustainable economy and build a renewable future. But some of those very same individuals, politicians and media commentators among them, become the loudest critics when it is time to act because it impacts them or their circles.

“You cannot greenwash political speeches in parliament, grandstand in the media and post on social media about climate action one day, then rail against the very same actions you claim to be for the next, for your own self-interests and gain. It is immoral and it is wrong.

“For the past two years the Scottish Greens in government have been developing plans for the hard work ahead, the stuff that requires changemaking and leadership, while ensuring record investment in nature, biodiversity and habit forming initiatives such as free bus travel for under 22s and funding for walking, wheeling and cycling - to name just a few - happens. 

“Yet we face this constant axis of whataboutery from those with vested interests or who don’t care about or believe climate change is real, be that for financial gain, or as part of a culture war being driven by the right. People must be on their guard and reject denialism and those platforms who stoke and support it.

“This week will be a pivotal moment for Scotland’s climate ambitions. I am hugely proud and grateful for the work that Patrick Harvie and others have done on this, but we still need consensus not conflict to deliver these plans. Be clear, this isn’t about what the Scottish Greens want. It is everything about what we must do if we are to tackle climate chaos.”

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