Climate Justice: Why the Climate Bill must be bold
Despite having done the least to cause the problem, climate change is threatening the world’s poorest the most and first.
To ensure that the voices of those threatened the most by climate change are heard in the debate on the new Climate Bill, currently going through the Scottish Parliament, the Cross Party Group on International Development welcomed experts to comment on why urgent and bold action is needed from high-emitting countries like Scotland.
Earlier this year, the Stop Climate Chaos Scotland Coalition brought together the testimonies of 100 people around the world, calling on Scotland to “Give it 100%” by enshrining in law a 2050 net-zero target. At this meeting, the CPG presented an exhibition of testimonies of some participants in the 100 Voices Campaign.
The CPG was also delighted to welcome Howard Msukwa to the Parliament, a smallholder farmer from Malawi who grows maize and rice. He is currently Vice Chair of the Kaporo Smallholder Farmers Association with some 7 000 members and sits on the national board of the farmers’ associations of Malawi, NASFAM.
He talked about how climate change is affecting rice farmers, with changing patterns of rainfall; and about effective ways of countering this and their cost. He commended the Scottish Government’s Climate Justice Fund, but said more must be done, emphasising that a bold climate bill in Scotland sets an example for other nations.
Dr Geraldine Hill, Advocacy Manager at SCIAF, gave an overview of Scotland’s climate journey since the 2009 Climate Bill through to the Paris Agreements in 2015 and now the new Bill. She said:
“Climate change science is telling us we need to act faster. But so are our own eyes and ears. We are starting to see the serious effects of wilder weather, with droughts and heatwaves close to home and around the world this year.”
“With the new Climate Change Bill now before Parliament, MSPs have an important opportunity to increase Scotland’s climate action, by setting ambitious targets that increase action over the next decade and eliminate our contribution to climate change by 2050, and by bringing in effective policies in underperforming sectors.”
She also highlighted that not only would this address our moral responsibility to act given the historic contribution we have made to climate change. It would also create thousands of jobs, improve health, reduce poverty and ensure that Scotland continues to provide global leadership on climate change.
The CPG also heard evidence from Elisa Morgera, Professor of Global Environmental Law at the University of Strathclyde. She highlighted that governments around the world, including the Scottish Government, must implement regulation and monitoring of the private sector in order to secure the biodiversity that is essential for maintaining human rights standards.
Dr. Achala Abeysinghe, principal Researcher and Team Leader of global climate law, policy and governance team of the Climate Change Group at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), then gave a short overview and the background of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) group, and presented how the LDCs are leading the climate fight both at the global and national level. She emphasised that long term policies and legislation, like the new Climate Bill can set the long term direction of travel and present an inspiring vision for the future, as well as give clear guidance to short term actions.
The meeting was well attended by MSPs, and welcomed a new member - the former Minister for International Development, Dr Alasdair Allan MSP. It was agreed that the conversation must not stop here. The Alliance, and other co-organisers of this meeting will publish a briefing that will be sent to all MSPs in advance of any further debates on this issue.
Contact Lewis if you wish to get involved.