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The Climate Emergency

Part of Debate on the Address – in the House of Commons at 3:31 pm on 17th October 2019.

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Photo of John McNally John McNally Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Environment) 3:31 pm, 17th October 2019

It is always a pleasure to follow Bill Grant.

Climate change is without doubt the most important issue that all of us face. We simply need to care about and look after our common home, our Mother Earth, better than we are at present. The damage, the harm, that we have inflicted on the Earth through our irresponsible behaviour and our abuse of the planet’s natural resources has resulted in the climate emergency that we all now face. There is a global conversion to the realisation that the plundering of the natural resources of this Earth must cease. Individually and collectively, we are to blame for the mess that we are leaving behind. It is simply not good enough for us to leave it to future generations.

The Queen’s Speech promises much, but for many it falls short on ambition. The behavioural change that we need to make, whether as individuals or as Governments, is the right thing to do, whether it is done by small business or a large multinational company. The destruction of the environment and the resulting climate change crisis are registering with people and businesses alike. The establishment of a social impact stock exchange bourse in Edinburgh is a great example of “moral money” being at the forefront of a new investor thinking by a new type of investor. It is no longer acceptable for companies and businesses to carry on as they have been. Our behaviour—the bad practices—is being righted bit by bit, and so it should be. The pollution, the waste and the throwaway culture are, we all hope, finally coming to an end. An impartial observer in the not too distant future may look back on our behaviour and ask, “Why did these people create such immense pile of filth on this beautiful planet?”

So what can we do? What actions can the Government take? The UK consumes 3.3 million tonnes of soy per annum, most of which is used as feed for the livestock that we consume, and 77% of which comes from areas in Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay that are at a high risk of deforestation. The UK Government could halt that practice, and start to save the lungs of the world immediately. In contrast, the Scottish Government are now a world leader on climate change. Our ambitious targets have been set, and our climate change legislation is the most stringent in the world.