Scot Gov must prove it is serious on climate emergency

Scottish Greens Climate Spokesperson Mark Ruskell MSP has today challenged the Scottish Government to prove it’s serious about tackling the climate emergency, ahead of a major statement on the subject in parliament this afternoon. 

The Cabinet Secretary for Climate Change Roseanna Cunningham is due to outline Scotland’s response to the climate emergency seven weeks after SNP MSPs voted down a Green proposition calling for the parliament to declare a climate emergency, and two weeks since the First Minister made the declaration at her party conference. The UK Climate Change Committee are also giving evidence in the Environment Committee this morning on their recent updated advice.

Ahead of the statement the Green MSP has laid out three tests, which he claims must be met if the First Minister’s declaration is to be considered more than just words;  

1 – All parts of the Budget must be up for discussion
Every year Scotland spends £2bn on transport infrastructure, but the vast majority of this goes to new roads. The Greens are calling for a root and branch review, with non-essential road infrastructure projects scrapped to make way for a major increase in investment in safer streets for walking and cycling, and public transport.

2- A 10 year Green New Deal plan to grow jobs and cut emissions by four fifths
Parliament voted in support of the Scottish Greens call for a Green New Deal for Scotland. The Greens as calling on the Scottish Government to set out a 10 year plan for a Green New Deal for Scotland that will catalyse investment in the low carbon economy and create thousands of jobs while delivering an 80% cut in emissions by 2030.

3- Acknowledge that some fossil fuels need to be left in the ground
Scientists are clear that the bulk of fossil fuels need to be left in the ground, and that applies to Scottish fossil fuels too. The Greens are calling on the  Scottish Government to commit to reviewing its support for maximum extraction, and bring forward transition plans to ensure communities currently dependent on fossil fuels have a bright future.

Mark Ruskell MSP said: 

“The Scottish Government’s recognition of the climate emergency is welcome but it must demonstrate that it is willing to back up those words with serious and urgent action, which is why we have put forward three key test for their climate emergency plan: use the budget powers to deliver radical action, deliver a 10 year Green New Deal plan for Scotland, and acknowledge that some fossil fuels will have to be left in the ground.

“A Green New Deal for Scotland that directs investment into the low carbon economy could deliver hundreds of thousands of jobs as we transition away from fossil fuels, while Investment in safe walking and cycling routes and quality public transport is essential to give everyone a cheap and effective alternative to the private car.

“The Scottish Government must also acknowledge that most of the fossil fuel reserves we know about need to be left in the ground, stop encouraging exploration for new sources and start investing in plans to support communities to make the transition and grow new jobs. If the Cabinet Secretary’s statement falls short of these commitments, it will suggest that the Scottish Government’s climate emergency is nothing more than a shiny new slogan.”