Next First Minister urged to lead ‘Climate Parliament’ as crisis warnings mount

The Scottish Greens are urging Scotland’s next First Minister to lead a ‘Climate Parliament’ tackling ‘the greatest threat we will ever know’ in light of new warnings that will come today from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 

Co-leaders and government ministers, Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater, said tribal party politics will do nothing to avert the catastrophic consequences of failing to take climate action, and have called on the new First Minister and other parties to work together.

Lorna Slater MSP said:

“The IPCC will not hold back in its warnings, and the new First Minister must act by taking the kind of bold action needed to protect our country and our children from the climate storm.

“The stakes could not be higher. The decisions that our Parliament and this Scottish Government take over the next months will define whether we succeed in mitigating Scotland's role in the deadly impacts of this crisis. That is the reality of what the new First Minister will face.

“It’s a huge test for government, but also for parliament. The legal duties which Scotland has on climate change were agreed by all parties, so the onus is on all of us to step up and show how they can be met. 

“This is now way beyond political tribalism which is why we are calling on the new First Minister to lead a ‘Climate Parliament’ that can focus on sustained action.” 

The Scottish Greens have highlighted five major decisions which immediately face whoever becomes First Minister:

  • The need for new laws to dramatically speed up the transition in the way homes and buildings are heated
  • Shifting the cost burden of transport, so that it is cheaper and easier to use public transport and active travel where people are able
  • Refocusing food production and farming to restore nature
  • Reaping the jobs bonanza of renewable energy as North Sea drilling comes to an end
  • Fully committing to ways of working which reduce waste and litter and maximise re-use of materials

Co-leader Patrick Harvie MSP added:

“COP26 in Glasgow 18 months ago gave Scotland the global stage to show leadership on climate and we have followed up with big commitments in budgets and the Programme for Government. But the next First Minister is facing the greatest challenge any of us will ever know. 

“We are starting from behind. Work that some other countries began decades ago is only now beginning to ramp up in Scotland. That is why so many big decisions are now coming so quickly: on transport, home heating, food and farming and greening the economy. We have made important progress, and that has to be built upon.

“The current SNP leadership election is for that party and its members. But as soon as the dust settles on that contest, the election of a new First Minister will come with the warnings of the IPCC still ringing loudly. Any credible candidate will need to both acknowledge them, and rise to that challenge.”

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