Charities say Scotland must play its part to avoid climate chaos

  • 31 Mar 2014
  • General News, International

Charities in Scotland say a new UN report on the impacts of climate change underlines the urgent need and moral responsibility for Scotland to meet its greenhouse gas emissions targets.

Today scientists from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change outlined a stark assessment of the impact global warming will have on the planet and on humans, especially those already living in poverty

Among its findings, the IPCC said:

  • people living on coastlines around the world will be affected by flooding, erosion and land loss and displaced due to land loss
  • crop yields for maize, rice and wheat are all hit in the period up to 2050, with around a tenth of projections showing losses over 25%
  • there will be increased extinction risk for species on land and in freshwater
  • there will be increased extinction risk for marine species in the tropics and enclosed seas
  • there will be risk of severe harm for some large urban populations due to inland flooding

However, the scientists also found that cutting greenhouse gas emissions over the next few decades can substantially reduce climate change risks in the second half of the 21st century.

Members of the Stop Climate Chaos Scotland coalition say that shows the importance of Scotland doing its share to cut greenhouse gases and create a new low-carbon economy.

Tom Ballantine, Chair of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, said:“This report should be a wake up call for all of us. We need to take urgent action to tackle climate change now.

“Scotland must play its part. That can make for a better world where we protect millions from misery and chaos, and a better Scotland, where we have warmer homes, healthier transport options, and cleaner air.”

Stop Climate Chaos is the country’s largest civil society coalition, and many Scottish international development charities are members.

Chris Hegarty, senior policy and advocacy advisor at Christian Aid Scotland, said: “Christian Aid campaigns on climate change because we know about the effect it is already having on the world’s poorest.

“The threat of climate change presents a clear danger to poor countries as they look to lift themselves out of poverty, and must be addressed urgently.

“Scotland and other developed nations have a moral duty to urgently address the causes of climate change as well as guaranteeing poor countries are supported as they deal with its consequences.”

SCIAF, the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund, is also a member of Stop Climate Chaos.

Philippa Bonella, SCIAF’s Head of Communications and Education, said: “SCIAF has heard from many of our partners in developing countries about the massive impact a changing climate, with extreme and unpredictable weather, is having on the poorest and most vulnerable women and men.

“Countries like Scotland have secured huge economic benefits from the historical use of fossil fuels. It is only fair that we should stand in solidarity with those now affected by a changing climate.

“That means moving towards more sustainable lifestyles here at home, and providing funding and expertise to help the most vulnerable adapt to the climate challenges they face.”