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Climate Change

– in the Scottish Parliament on 11th December 2019.

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Photo of Angus MacDonald Angus MacDonald Scottish National Party

7. To ask the First Minister how the Scottish Government is working with international partners to tackle climate change. (S5F-03789)

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

Tackling the climate emergency is a priority for all of us, and is something that we all have a moral responsibility to do. However, it is not something that any one country can do on its own. That is why our partnerships with other countries and our work with them through organisations such as the Under2 Coalition are so important.

Over the past decade, the Scottish Government has played an important part in the United Nations international climate conferences, and, as I said a few moments ago, Roseanna Cunningham is currently in Madrid, preparing the ground for the 26th conference of the parties—COP26—in Glasgow.

We all want COP26 to be inclusive; we want all voices to be heard in a respectful and collaborative way, including the voices of the global south. We recognise that climate change disproportionately impacts poorer nations. That is why we established the climate justice fund—we were the first of any Government in the world to do so.

Photo of Angus MacDonald Angus MacDonald Scottish National Party

We know that the only way that we can successfully tackle the global climate emergency is for all nations to work together. That said, in order for Scotland to meet the ambitious target to reach net zero by 2045, we need action from across the United Kingdom. Will the First Minister outline where the UK Government has, thus far, failed to step up?

The First Minister:

We need the UK Government to take action. The Committee on Climate Change was very clear about the areas in which the UK Government needs to take action if Scotland is to meet its targets. Carbon capture and storage and accelerating the UK’s transition to electric and low-emission vehicles were two of the areas that it highlighted. I also want to see the UK Government give more support to onshore wind and drop the obsession with nuclear power. Those are just some examples of the actions that we need to see the UK Government take.

After this election, I hope that we have a UK Government that gives greater priority to tackling the climate emergency—not just to the setting of the targets but to the actions that have to be taken to meet those targets. It was deeply regrettable that Boris Johnson did not come to the leaders debate on those issues. That sends a rather poor signal of the level of priority that the UK Government gives to those issues.

There is no doubt that the Scottish Government will lead by example. We will seek to work with the UK Government and Governments across the world, in order to tackle the driving moral imperative of getting our emissions to net zero and tackling the climate emergency.