I was pleased to take Scotland’s strong messages on climate change to the international talks in Poland earlier this week. During my time there, I participated in an event with the United Nations secretary general, and took part in Al Gore’s “24 Hours of Reality” to raise awareness of the actions that we all need to take to address what Sir David Attenborough recently referred to as “humanity’s greatest threat.”
While I was there, I also announced funding for the Marrakech partnership for global climate action, which supports implementation of the Paris agreement, and a £1 million partnership with the Solar Impulse Foundation’s “1,000 solutions” project. That builds on our recent work with the international community, in which we have contributed to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Talanoa dialogue, and to the European Union’s consultation on its long-term climate strategy.
As the First Minister said at the 24th conference of the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change—COP24— in Katowice, Governments, businesses and individuals have a moral obligation to do what they can to reduce and mitigate the effects of climate change. Will the First Minister outline what pressure her Government has put on the United Kingdom Government to join Scotland in finding practical and just solutions in working towards net zero emissions as soon as possible?
During the process of the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill in May, the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform wrote to the appropriate UK minister of state calling on the UK to work with Scotland on reaching net zero emissions as soon as possible. That is necessary because—as, I am sure, all members know—there are several areas in which Scotland simply does not have the devolved competence to act unilaterally: for instance, decarbonising the gas grid, which is controlled by the UK Government.
We wrote again in September to restate the calls in advance of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s special report, and we will continue to press the UK Government to match the ambition of the Scottish Government, so that we can continue to work together towards net zero emissions as soon as possible, which I am happy to restate is the goal and ambition of the Scottish Government.