Will Scotland put its money where its mouth is on climate justice? | World Development Movement

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Will Scotland put its money where its mouth is on climate justice?

By Liz Murray, 24 January 2012

Alex Salmond has called for 2012 to be the "year of climate justice", but Scottish Ministers are already going against that by not funding their own plans and policies to cut climate emissions in Scotland.

Just last week, Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond was at the World Energy Forum in Abu Dhabi urging world leaders to make 2012 the "year of climate justice". He rightly made the link between economic development, energy choices and climate justice, saying: “It is vitally important that, as the world moves towards economic recovery in 2012, we place climate justice at the very heart of the decisions we make on energy policy and economic and social development in the coming months.” He also lauded his nation’s world leading climate change legislation which has set a target of reducing Scotland’s climate change emissions by 42 per cent by 2020 and 80 per cent by 2050.

What timing, then, to be out there on the world stage saying all this just a few days before the publication of the Scottish budget bill, which shows that the Scottish government is not going to fund the policies that would allow it to reach the targets it set in the world leading climate change act of which Alex Salmond is so proud.

I hope it’s not too trite to say that, for industrialised countries, climate justice starts at home. Countries like Scotland, which got rich on cheap energy from burning fossil fuels, must cut their own emissions, swiftly and deeply. And yet, the Scottish Parliament is about to debate a budget bill which proposes cutting funding for cycling and walking infrastructure by a third while increasing the roads budget by 16 per cent. If it does this, it will have great difficulty reaching its own carbon reduction targets.

The World Development Movement is calling on MSPs of all parties who take seriously the commitments set out in the Scottish climate change act, to ensure that the budget they vote through doesn’t undermine the credibility of this act - or, indeed, Alex Salmond's fine words on the world stage.

Tom Ballantyne, chair of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, speaking on behalf of the 60+ member organisations of the coalition (including the World Development Movement) said:

“The Scottish government has disregarded the calls of key parliamentary committees, of academic experts, of the hundreds of people who have contacted their MSPs about this issue and of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland – the largest civil society coalition in the country - in order to blast ahead with their carbon-intensive plans to build even more roads rather than help people make healthier, safer, more environmentally-friendly transport choices.”

Stop Climate Chaos members protest lack of funding for sustainable travel

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Written by

Liz Murray

Liz Murray is head of campaigns and policy at WDM’s Scottish office.


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