In 2015, world leaders signed the Paris Agreement to set a goal of reducing carbon emissions and limit global warming to 1.5 ºC above 1990 and avert climate catastrophe. And the COP24 meeting in Katowice last December made some progress, but failed to agree on how countries will step up their targets on cutting emissions.
According to the report of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) the world faces more severe and frequent floods, droughts and wildfires. The ice caps are melting. Whole nations could disappear. As we show in this issue of P&J News ignoring environmental issues brings serious consequences to peace and security.
Yet the refusal of some countries to commit to reduce carbon emissions, doesn’t mean we should give up. New technologies that can lower emissions are being developed. And some countries are committing to Zero Carbon futures. In March Costa Rica announced a National Decarbonization Plan that identifies concrete steps including zero emissions from all public transport and increasing re-forestation.
Scotland now has the opportunity to lead the way. Stop Climate Chaos Scotland is calling on Scottish government to increase emission reduction targets in the Climate Change Bill. If we’re going to limit global warming to around 1.5 ºC above 1990 levels, then our emissions need to fall to zero by 2040 rather than 2050. To achieve this the Climate Bill should require the Budget be linked to the Climate Change Plan so the Government has to say how much it will spend on reductions initiatives.
Crucially, the plan should include commitments to improve the energy efficiency of all Scotland’s homes. Energy efficiency is one of the lowest-cost ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Measures such as loft and cavity wall insulation are cheap to install. Investment in this area would save energy and emissions for decades, lift households out of fuel poverty and create thousands of jobs.
Take Action: Write to your MSPs now to urge them to strengthen the Climate Bill. To send an email to your MSPs go to: https://act.foe.scot/climate-zero-2040
On a personal level everyone can take steps to embrace a more sustainable lifestyle, steps that can show the kind of commitment that the international community desperately needs. Maybe we can set the example, one by one, while small countries like Costa Rica and Scotland can set the example for bigger countries.