Wed 6 Nov, 2019

Rural Economy minister Fergus Ewing has dismissed concerns of the UK’s Committee on Climate Change over a lack of progress on adapting Scotland’s agriculture to address the climate emergency.

Yesterday CCC chief executive Chris Stark called the Scottish Government’s action on adapting agriculture ‘half baked’, warning it was falling behind preparations in England.

But today Fergus Ewing told MSPs on the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee that he was “disappointed” in the comments.

It was “a bit sad”, Ewing said, that the advisory body “took such a gloomy view”. He also added that he would “take no lessons” on climate change from Chris Stark, who used to work in his department.

Responding, Scottish Greens climate spokesperson Mark Ruskell said: “This is an astonishing response from the cabinet secretary to a warning from the government’s own experts, the Committee on Climate Change.

“The SNP are simply in denial about the urgency of the situation. The CCC were clear that there has not been enough progress, especially when it comes to things like soil erosion and land use.

“The attitude by Fergus Ewing reveals why long-term targets are not enough if we are to address the climate emergency within the timescale we have. They cannot kick the can down the road and hope some future solution presents itself. Scotland needs to rise to the challenge now, through a Scottish Green New Deal.”

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