Campaigners welcome Scotland’s climate commitment but warn against corporate hijacking

Tuesday, 8 October, 2013

On the eve of Scotland’s international climate justice conference, campaigners have welcomed the Scottish government’s on-going commitment to climate justice, calling for further funds to help meet the country’s ‘climate debt’ to developing countries. But they have also warned the government to steer clear of corporate involvement in climate finance, claiming that thriving, democratic public sectors are the only means of tackling climate change in a just way.

Anti-poverty campaign groups the World Development Movement and Jubilee South have urged Alex Salmond to use Scotland’s Climate Justice Fund to ensure the country takes responsibility for its part in causing climate change.

Scotland will host representatives of governments, businesses and campaign groups from around the world tomorrow to discuss how to transition to a low carbon global economy in an equal and sustainable way. The Scottish government is one of just a few rich-country governments to recognise that rich countries, which are largely responsible for climate change, owe a ‘climate debt’ to poorer countries which have done little to cause it.

The Scottish government’s Climate Justice Fund was established last year to address Scotland’s climate debt by granting money to projects to increase poor countries’ resilience to climate change. Campaigners have welcomed the fund, but say the £3 million allocated to it is too little. They also fear that private sector money could be brought into the fund, leading to corporate profit being prioritised at the expense of the needs of the people most affected by climate change.

Lidy Nacpil of Jubilee South, travelling to the conference from the Philippines, said:

I am pleased to attend the Scottish government’s conference and hope more rich countries commit to climate justice. We need to be absolutely clear that climate justice is about breaking the corporate domination and fossil-fuel dependence of global energy, shifting to equitable and low carbon systems as fast as possible, and repaying climate debt.

Nick Dearden of World Development Movement said:

We welcome the Scottish government’s commitment to climate justice, a stark contrast to the UK’s climate policy. We urge Scotland not to fall into the trap of allowing corporations and big finance to co-opt this process. Climate justice is about those who have grown rich from climate change repaying their debt to those who are suffering. This will only happen by supporting thriving, democratic public sectors and fighting against the corporate capture of energy.”

The campaign groups have also called on the Scottish government to oppose UK government fossil fuel subsidies, pay climate money to developing countries as grants not loans, and ensure that the Scottish climate justice fund is not linked with carbon markets and other risky financial instruments.