Global South Representatives Praise First Minister’s COP26 Leadership, But Challenge Her to Meet Emissions Targets and Oppose New Oil
Global South representatives have urged the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, to deepen her climate leadership in the last few days of COP26, by demanding that other rich countries stump up cash to support developing countries, slashing Scotland’s emissions and opposing all new fossil fuel projects.
Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, a coalition of over 60 organisations campaigning together on climate change, hosted a roundtable with the First Minister in Glasgow today [Wednesday 9 November].
Participants who have travelled to Glasgow from Panama, Zambia, Philippines, Malawi and Peru, and a youth climate activist from Canada, strongly welcomed the Scottish Government’s financial pledge to support communities facing the devastating impacts of irreversible climate impacts – so-called ‘Loss and Damage’. The announcement means the Scottish Government is the first rich, developed nation to explicitly commit such funding.
The First Minister branded the £1m allocation from the Climate Justice Fund as an act of “reparation” for Scotland’s contribution to the climate crisis, “not an act of “charity”.
Clémence Abbès Castillo, who works with indigenous communities in Peru as Oxfam’s Climate Justice Programme Officer, said:
“My grandparents lived in the Andes, but if they were alive they wouldn’t recognise their land as the glaciers are melting and deforestation is increasing. What has been lost will never come back.
“Shamefully, many rich nations are blocking progress to address the damage from irreversible climate impacts, so Scotland’s announcement is really important. Yet the truth is, it will only really matter if other rich nations use COP26 to raise the new money that’s so badly needed.
“But rich nations, like Scotland, must also stop making this crisis worse, and that means cutting emissions in line with promises and ending the use of dirty fossil fuels. Every new oil platform that opens condemns my country and communities on the frontline and delays will cost lives.”
The Scottish Government’s finance pledge has been welcomed by the Least Developed Countries Group – which represents 46 countries and 1 billion people – and the UN Secretary General singled out the Scottish Government for praise in this area. However, there is rapidly growing concern that COP26 will fail to secure meaningful progress on Loss and Damage globally.
While much rests on the leadership of the UK Presidency, Global South representatives told the First Minister that COP26 must establish a new finance facility for Loss and Damage and help drive sustained progress by making it a permanent agenda item at future UN climate conferences.
Jocabed Solano, an indigenous rights and climate change activist from Panama said:
“The sea levels are rising all around our islands and people are losing their homes. This is the land of our grandmothers and we want to stay. Indigenous people care for 80% of the world’s biodiversity in the lands in which we have lived for centuries. To protect the earth you must protect our human rights.
“What will you say to your children and grandchildren when they ask how you cared for the earth? My people say we are united with mother earth and we must defend her.”
Musamba Mubanga, Programme Specialist with Caritas Zambia, urged the First Minister to continue Scotland’s leadership on Loss and Damage between now and COP27 in Egypt:
“One of the legacies from Glasgow’s COP26 has to be Scotland taking a leading role in bringing together countries and key regions and cities in Europe, to have a dialogue with Global South experts and for communities to push forward on wider Loss and Damage funding. I hope that the First Minister will rise to the challenge and help present ideas at the next COP taking place in Africa in 2022.”
Responding to attendees, the First Minister said that “Scotland is not a paragon of virtue, we have massive things we need to reckon with and change, and we’ve got much to do and we’ve got to keep ourselves under pressure to do that.
“I fully recognise the obligation Scotland has, we’re amongst the leading countries in the world in terms of reducing emissions but the bar is too low, it’s too easy to claim leadership.” She said that action to transition from oil and gas is “a key responsibility.”
Stop Climate Chaos Scotland is urging the First Minister to oppose the proposed Cambo oil field. The decision on the proposed development off Shetland rests at UK level, but the coalition says the First Minister should urge the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to intervene and block the proposal – setting a powerful example to all rich nations on the need to end the use of fossil fuels.
Notes to Editors:
- Loss and Damage was identified as a key priority by experts from across the Global South during the recent Glasgow Climate Dialogues, a series of discussions hosted by Stop Climate Chaos Scotland and the Scottish Government. The Glasgow Climate Dialogues communiqué can be found at: stopclimatechaos.scot/communique
- A video summarising the Glasgow Climate Dialogues can be found at: https://youtu.be/yH3O584Emu8
- Stop Climate Chaos Scotland recently wrote an open letter to the First Minister about the proposed Cambo oil field.
About Stop Climate Chaos Scotland:
- Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) is a diverse coalition of over 60 organisations campaigning together on climate change.
- We believe that the Scottish Government should take bold action to tackle climate change, with Scotland delivering our fair share of action in response to the Paris Agreement and supporting climate justice around the world.
- Our coalition members range from environment, faith and development organisations to trade and student unions and community groups.
- Stop Climate Chaos Scotland’s policy paper, ‘Delivering climate justice at COP26 in Glasgow: Seizing Scotland’s unique opportunity to shape global action’, can be found at: stopclimatechaos.scot/climatejusticecop26
Media requests and interviews:
Stop Climate Chaos Scotland spokespeople are available for comment and interview throughout the two weeks of COP26, with representatives inside the talks and outside at events.
For more information, photos, or to arrange an interview with a spokesperson, please contact: Fiona Hooker, Communications and Campaigns Officer, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: 07724 840620