Dr Richard Dixon director of Friends of the Earth Scotland: We are in a climate emergency, with record heatwaves sweeping Europe and water rapidly running out for seven million people in Chennai in India. It is perhaps a strange kind of emergency. From Scotland, it might look like we are being asked to change major things about society because of a threat that is barely affecting us yet. If you live in Bangladesh, with a third of the country under water some summers, or on a Pacific Island disappearing under the rising ocean, it looks like a much more immediate threat that needs immediate action. The Scottish Government declared a Climate Emergency in April and the big test of their resolve will come with the launch of the new Programme for Government this September. When Nicola Sturgeon stands up for the annual list of new announcements, we need to hear some bold moves forward in the fight to reduce carbon emissions. On transport, why not make all the buses in Scotland free? This one move would go a long way to reducing carbon emissions, air pollution and congestion in our towns and cities, as well as improving access to job opportunities for many. That’s why Luxembourg is making all public transport free from March next year. On energy, acknowledging that we can’t extract every last drop of oil from the North Sea would be the biggest step so far on the vital journey from high-carbon jobs to low-carbon jobs in energy. On waste, the promised Circular Economy Bill could not just crack down on the mountains of plastic we throw away but fundamentally change the way that resources flow through the economy, saving millions of tonnes of carbon emissions in the process. On finance, taking public sector pension money out of the likes of BP and Shell could free up nearly £2bn to invest in housing, renewable energy and public transport. As policy ideas are developed and tested over the summer we need the kind of determination that took humans to the moon to produce a response up to the job of addressing the climate emergency.
Scotsman 9th July 2019 read more »