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Calls for urgent action as MSPs debate climate change Bill

Campaigners say legislation does not reflect severity of global situation.

Global warming: Scottish Government 'failing to tackle climate change' (file pic).
Global warming: Scottish Government 'failing to tackle climate change' (file pic). © STV

A proposed new law to bring in tougher climate change targets in Scotland faces its first hurdle at Holyrood amid calls for more urgent action.

The Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill would update laws to increase the greenhouse gas reduction target from the current 80% to 90% by 2050.

It would also introduce an interim target of 56% for 2020 - up from the current 42% - and 66% for 2030.

Climate change activists and the Scottish Parliament's Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform (ECCLR) Committee both warn that more urgent action is needed than that currently in the Bill.

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) is holding a protest outside Holyrood ahead of the Stage 1 debate on the Bill on Tuesday.

SCCS chairman Tom Ballantine said: "The Scottish Government is failing to tackle climate change with the necessary urgency.

"The Bill going through Parliament currently commits to almost no increase in action between now and 2030.

"Climate change is the most urgent and pressing crisis facing the world, and Scotland's targets for cutting emissions must reflect our commitment to meeting that challenge.

"The increasing frequency and severity of climate disasters around the world show that we are running out of time to solve this crisis.

"MSPs must use this debate and the forthcoming parliamentary process to increase Scotland's action, particularly in the next decade, and map out the concrete measures that will cut climate emissions from transport, housing and food production over the next ten years."

'This Bill is out of step with what climate science says is needed'
Stop Climate Chaos Scotland chairman Tom Ballantine

He added: "As it stands, this Bill is out of step with what climate science says is needed and the repeated public calls for more action."

His comments follow an SCCS-commissioned YouGov poll which found that 78% of respondents are either more concerned about climate change or as concerned as they were 12 months ago.

A third of those surveyed are more worried about climate change now than they were a year ago.

In a report on the planned legislation, the ECCLR committee called for greater urgency on climate change, acceleration of short-term targets and setting out what temperature they seek to achieve.

The committee recommended this should be the 1.5C (2.7F) outlined in the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report published in October.

The report warned that unprecedented action is needed to avoid the severe climate impacts of temperatures rising above the this level, and said action needed includes cutting global carbon dioxide emissions by almost half within 12 years, and to zero by mid-century.

IPCC scientists are in Edinburgh this week and will meet committee members before the debate, as well as meeting pupils who are walking out of school on Fridays as part of a global youth climate change protest.

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