• 08 May 2024
  • General News

Representatives from civic society, faith and scientific communities came together on 9th May 2024 to make a clear statement:

Scotland’s inability to meet key climate change targets must be a “wake-up” call for all of society and failure to work openly and collaboratively to drive progress will have grave implications for the planet.

Photo credit: Holly Mcnair, RSGS

More than 30 individuals have signed statements calling on the Scottish and UK governments to “bridge the widening gap” between promises and practical action to build a fairer, greener, healthier society for all. The signatories are led by Rt Rev Sally Foster-Fulton, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Professor Stuart Haszeldine, Co-Director at the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute, hosted by the University of Edinburgh, and Mike Robinson Chair of Stop Climate Chaos in Scotland and Chief Executive of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.

The civil society statement in full:

Scottish civil society is united in our determination to see more action to tackle the climate and nature crises and build a fairer, greener, healthier society for everyone. People in Scotland care deeply about the need for change and climate justice, and we believe that all those with the power to act must now prioritise action to tackle and respond to climate change, both here and internationally. Doing so isn’t optional, and the sooner we act the better and more affordable it will be; the longer we wait, or delay, the more it will cost in both human and economic terms.  

We need sustained and deep political leadership in and from Scotland, with a commitment to action to reduce emissions at speed and to helping other countries to deal with the climate impacts that we have and continue to fuel. We must deliver the urgent transition needed whilst doing so fairly, securing sustainable jobs, improving health and wellbeing and reducing inequalities.

Throughout 2019, the year of the school climate strikes, when our Scottish Parliament set its legal 2045 target to achieve net zero, with an interim target of reducing emissions by at least 75% by 2030, there was a determination amongst most people in society, a recognition of our collective responsibility to do better, and a commitment to step up. Governments, including in Scotland, declared climate emergencies. Businesses set net zero targets. People demanded change.  But over the past few years, this energy and focus has slipped, targets have been missed and now face being removed. But climate change doesn’t stop just because we don’t want to deal with it or other issues demand our simultaneous attention. This is not the time to step back or be distracted from our climate commitments. 

It’s time to regain that collective focus. Politicians of every creed, businesses in every sector, public servants, communities, and civic leaders in every part of Scotland, need to come together to solve this crisis. We need to see beyond our differences and to work openly and collaboratively together to deliver the accelerated investment we all need to drive faster progress. 

We have an opportunity to get back on track, but we all need to step up. This is the moment to reset, reenergise and redouble our efforts. In working together and addressing the climate emergency with the urgency it demands, we can build solutions that work for everyone. But it will need all of us to recapture the determination we had only five years ago. And we need every one of our leaders to step up and act on climate.

On behalf of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland – a diverse coalition of over 70 civil society organisations campaigning together on climate change in Scotland