Here are our answers to some common questions we are asked about climate change and this campaign.
The Scottish Government has proposed a new climate change law to update emissions targets for Scotland. The Government wants to do this to contribute to the Paris Agreement aim of keeping the world well below 2°C of global warming and to “pursue efforts” to limit that warming to 1.5°C.
A new Climate Change Bill is Scotland’s chance to show that it will be at the forefront of combating climate change, championing innovation and care about this planet, the population that live on it, and the rich biodiversity we share it with.
In order to keep the planet, its people, and its wildlife safe, SCCS believes that Scotland’s target must be for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 at the latest. We also want to see a more ambitious target for a 80% reduction by 2030 (compared to 1990 levels).
Taking action only takes two minutes, and will reverberate very loudly with politicians and the government – they pay close attention to public sentiment. It will be your good green deed for the day!
Climate change poses a huge threat to people and planet. Global temperatures have been rising for over a century, and the rate of change continues to accelerate. 2016 was the hottest year on record with an increase in extreme weather events – causing floods, famine and threatening people’s homes. The simple truth is the one that so many of us don’t want to face: that the climate catastrophe is already upon us. We must act now or much worse will follow.
The climate changes slowly and always has done, but that’s not what’s happening here. This is a sudden and dramatic rise in temperatures across the planet, driven but the massive increase in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere due to human activity. The rate of change is unprecedented outside of a catastrophic geological event. It’s not how hot or cold it’s getting that matters, it’s the rate of change. The faster it changes, the more the cost – in money, in resources, and in lives.
Extreme weather events like droughts will become more frequent and unpredictable. Society’s infrastructure is built around our current climate, but will increasingly be tested and found wanting. If the Gulf Stream slows down, much of north-west Europe will become uninhabitable in winter. What happens when whole regions become uninhabitable? How do you relocate an entire city because it now sits on a flood plane? As resources become stretched, what will happen to our compassion for one another? We’ve had war for oil, are you ready for war for water?
A low-carbon economy will deliver many benefits beyond cutting our greenhouse gases, such reduced fuel poverty, cleaner air, thousands of jobs, and improved health – not to mention safeguarding the planet’s extraordinary and diverse wildlife.
Farming is responsible for almost 25% of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions. A key way to cut the powerful ghg nitrous oxide is for all farmers to use nitrogen fertiliser more efficiently – which would also save them money. A Nitrogen Balance Sheet for Scotland would encourage a more efficient use of fertiliser, save farmers money, and improve the countryside for wildlife. Sustainable farming can also help us in other ways, providing more wildlife, better health, clean rivers and seas, and more accessible food.
Heating for our homes is a big proportion of our emissions in Scotland. Energy efficiency makes the essentials more affordable for some of the poorest in our neighbourhoods, improving people’s living conditions and ensuring good health and more financial stability. We want all homes to be insulated and have energy efficiency measures installed to give each house an Energy Performance Certificate rating of C by 2030.
Transport is the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Scotland. Almost a quarter of all our emissions come from transport, with about two thirds of that coming from people using the roads. Currently in Scotland there are around 2000 premature deaths related to air pollution levels every year. Electric vehicles are a serious alternative, along with public transport and active travel (walking and cycling).
The Scottish Government have committed to phase out the need for petrol and diesel cars by 2032 but must now set out how they intend to achieve this aim.