The new US. President’s decision to immediately re-join the Paris climate agreement and commit to going further offers hope that the UN Climate Summit in Glasgow this year can deliver a much-needed breakthrough, Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater has said.
Joe Biden has appointed former US. Secretary of State John Kerry as his ‘special presidential envoy on climate’ a signal that the new administration in the White House takes the issue extremely seriously.
Ms Slater has welcomed the indication from Mr Kerry that Paris will be “a floor, not a ceiling”, but warned that it’s not just the US. who rapidly need to up their ambition; calling on Scotland and the UK to raise their ambition too.
Lorna Slater said:
“The election of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris offers new hope for those of us who have been demanding climate action, and the early sounds coming from the White House offer encouragement that we could see the substantial progress that is so urgently needed when the world comes to Glasgow for COP26 in November.
“It has come to something though that merely by acknowledging the crisis the new administration has already done more than the previous. It is encouraging that John Kerry, the man now charged with US. climate policy has indicated that the Paris agreement will be a floor, and the US. will work to go further.
“It’s essential too that the Scottish and UK Government’s both urgently reassess their position, which to date has been entirely inadequate. Hosting the global climate summit is a huge opportunity for both governments to demonstrate a desire to go further and faster than ever before. Instead these governments are ploughing ahead with road expansion schemes, supporting continued oil exploration, airport expansion and even, in the case of the UK Government, supporting the opening of a new coal mine.
“The Scottish Greens have shown how we can change our infrastructure spending priorities to tackle the climate crisis and create good jobs as part of a green recovery from the coronavirus crisis. Our rail for all programme would modernise Scotland’s railway, making it affordable and accessible to all. The Scottish Government shows no such ambition.
“As a renewables engineer who is currently project managing the construction of a tidal turbine in Dundee, I know we have the skills and experience to lead the world in renewable energy. But you don’t have to look far to see missed opportunities to deliver green jobs in Scotland’s renewables supply chain.
“Both governments have a real opportunity to deliver bold and ambitious change. They have the opportunity to set out budgets that will take seriously the threat posed by the climate crisis, instead of simply paying it lip service as they have until now. Hosting the COP26 summit is a huge responsibility at a time when the need for climate action is obvious and urgent. As John Kerry said this week, “the road to Glasgow begins here,” let’s hope it's paved with concrete climate action.”