Scotland’s response to IPCC report on climate change must be a summit of political and civic leaders

Scotland’s response to the damning IPCC report on climate change must be to convene a summit of political and civic leaders says Patrick Harvie.

The Scottish Greens’ co-convener says that such a meeting should take the need for rapid transition to a post-oil economy as its starting point, and have no limit set on the proposals for progress that are put forward.

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report makes clear that stabilising the mean surface temperature of the world requires countries to set targets for net-zero CO2 emissions with rapid reductions in other greenhouse gas emissions, such as methane. The Scottish Government is currently aiming for just 90% of greenhouse gas emissions.

The benefits of lifestyle changes such as cycling and walking are also cited in the report. Transport emissions are rising year-on-year in Scotland, with cycle journeys having fallen by 6.5% over a five-year period.

Harvie, Glasgow’s Green MSP, said:

“We’ve always challenged the government to go further in its response to dangerous climate change. However this report from an internationally respected organisation makes clear the urgent need for all nations to transform their economies to achieve zero-carbon.

“Scotland wants to be seen as a leader, and that means going further and faster than merely our 'fair share' of effort. Crucially, Scotland can no longer take comfort in the limited actions already promised while pretending the fossil fuel economy can carry on as usual.

“The First Minister’s response should be to convene a summit of political and civic leaders throughout Scotland. The meeting should see no limit set on our ambitions, where Scottish Greens will make the case for creating a net-zero CO2 target for 2040, transformation in failing areas like transport and agriculture, and public-led investment in the post-oil economy of the future.

“Every aspect of business-as-usual politics must be challenged, and the Greens are ready to set out the positive ideas our future needs.”