Help push for a strong Climate Change Act – our wildlife needs it

Last week the Scottish Government introduced the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill to the Scottish Parliament. The Bill sets new targets for emission reductions but it’s not enough to meet the threat faced by wildlife and people in Scotland and around the world.

Our precious wildlife is suffering now from global warming and climate change. Our seabirds especially are struggling as seas warm, the marine environment changes and their food sources become scarce. RSPB Scotland is therefore working with our partners in the Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) coalition to call on MSPs to set more ambitious targets in the new Bill. The Scottish Government have not listened to the huge number of voices, at home and internationally, calling for a stronger commitment so it’s imperative that we tell our MSPs who now hold the power to make changes to the legislation

As the Bill progresses through the Scottish Parliament, stakeholders, the public and politicians will have the opportunity to input into discussions on what Scotland’s future on climate change action should be. Read on to find out more and how you can ensure your voice is heard!

Scotland has long prided itself on being a forward-looking nation. Ambition on climate change has been no exception with world leading targets set in the 2009 Climate Change Act. The new Climate Change Bill was a real opportunity to keep Scotland on the map as a leader on climate targets and action. Unfortunately the Scottish Government’s Bill is hugely disappointing as it only commits Scotland to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 90% by 2050. This decision ignores the calls of more than 19,000 people who asked Government to go further and commit to a 100% reduction by 2050. At RSPB Scotland we supported this along with a wide variety of organisations and experts.

This is not a call to have no emissions whatsoever, but a target to have net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest. This means a balance between emissions sources and absorption.

A 100% reduction in emissions would give us more certainty that we are meeting our commitments under the Paris Agreement. This international treaty seeks to limit warming to 1.5oC. To do so, it calls on developed countries to reach zero emissions, in line with the principles of climate justice that those most responsible for, and that may have benefitted from the causes of, climate change should have more of accountability in limiting global warming.

A net-zero target is a tough ambition, but it is what is required to tackle such a huge threat. As a global community we must steer clear of dangerous levels of global warming - once we reach the 2oC mark, the world will face seriously detrimental effects:

-          30% of animals and plant species will be at “increasingly high risk of extinction”

-          The sea level will rise by 50cm resulting in extensive flooding

-          Freshwater sources could decline by 20%

-          Crop yields will decrease significantly

-          Droughts and heatwaves will intensify

These are just a few of the major changes we could face, and therefore we need to be truly aspirational when it comes to committing to doing our fair share.

MSPs now have opportunity to improve the Bill during its progress through Parliament and set the targets needed. SCCS have set up an e-Action to ask your MSPs to push for changes - complete the e-Action here.

If you’d like to get more involved in your region, SCCS are running a series of Climate Action workshops throughout June. Find further details and how to sign up here.

Make your voice heard for #OorFuture