By Raymie Kiernan
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Demand the Scottish government act now on climate chaos

This article is over 4 years, 2 months old
Issue 2674
School strikers in Glasgow on 20 September
School strikers in Glasgow on 20 September (Pic: Andrew McGowan)

MSPs at Holyrood last week voted by 113 votes to zero, to adopt a new ­climate bill. Only the Greens abstained.

The bill commits the Scottish government to ensuring Scotland would be a net zero carbon society by 2045.

It drew immediate criticism from Extinction Rebellion (XR) Scotland who said in a statement that politicians had given us a “50-50 chance of keeping warming below 1.5 degrees”.

It added, “Any rise above 1.5 degrees will see catastrophic global consequences—we are already seeing ecosystems collapsing and people dying across the planet.

“You wouldn’t get in a car that had a 50-50 chance of arriving at its destination, so why are we allowing our politicians to sleepwalk us into a catastrophe?”

During the Holyrood debate the Scottish National Party (SNP) environment secretary insisted the climate bill’s 2045 target was “the maximum possible ambition”.


But the Scottish government was pushed to increase targets for cuts in emissions from 70 to 75 percent by 2030 after a Labour amendment.

The Greens amendment calling for a 80 percent cut by 2030 fell.

Only five days before the vote, tens of thousands took to the streets across Scotland.

One of the organisers of the 15,000-strong 20 September climate strike march in Glasgow was Emil Carr, who was “incredibly disappointed” by the climate bill.

“The 2045 target is lethally too late,” Emil told Socialist Worker. “We need to be carbon neutral by 2030. It’s crucial that we provide a just transition protecting workers. I can’t see how they can solve the climate crisis without social justice.”

Student striker Ruby Hirsch echoed Emil’s point when she spoke to the rally on 20 September in Glasgow. She said the climate crisis is now a key driver of migration globally and condemned the likes of Boris Johnson and Donald Trump for whipping up hatred against refugees.

Ruby said, “These are also the same politicians who do nothing to address the climate crisis.

“We can’t let them get away with scapegoating vulnerable people that deserve our humanity not our hatred.

It is essential that as part of the inspiring and growing mass global movement for the climate, anti-racism and defence of refugees and migrants is at its centre.”

Nearly six months ago, first minister Nicola Sturgeon declared a climate emergency.

XR Scotland was right to say that the climate bill passed last week “is not what an emergency response looks like—this response is business as usual”.

We can’t wait—system change not climate change

First minister Nicola Sturgeon succumbed to the pressure of the youth climate strikes and Extinction Rebellion (XR) protests and declared a climate emergency in April.

Only weeks later the SNP-run Glasgow city council followed suit.

But frustration has grown with its slow progress to respond with emergency measures.

XR Glasgow activists disrupted a council meeting last week that was due to make a final decision about the council’s action plan.

They stood up in the council chamber holding placards with slogans such as, “Too little, too late”, “Climate Citizens’ Assembly now” and “Zero emissions by 2025”.

The scale of the climate crisis demands urgent radical action confronting fossil fuel firms’ interests, or support for bigger airports or fracking.

It demands a just transition for working class people and their communities, not looking after the rich.

The politicians have failed us, and we’re running out of time.

We must act now to overturn them.

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