Doha climate talks: Scotland’s contribution

Doha climate talks: Scotland’s contribution

Date: 5 December 2012

Last week, WDM’s press officer Miriam Ross blogged about an issue high on the agenda at the UN climate change talks in Doha: climate finance, or more specifically, the lack of it. Rich countries are spectacularly failing to cough up the money they promised to help poor communities in the global south adapt to the damage caused by climate change. 

The Scottish government, however, is making a small contribution to the pot. As Scottish climate change minister Paul Wheelhouse MSP left for Doha last week, he announced the first tranche of funding from his government’s climate justice fund. This is new money, additional to the money currently given in overseas aid by the Scottish government, and will be in grants, not loans. Most of the projects receiving funds are supported by Scottish NGOs and focus on helping communities affected by climate change access clean and safe water.

The Scottish government is strong on rhetoric about global climate justice and its own efforts to tackle climate change at home. In a press release before he left for Doha, Paul Whitehouse said, ‘I want to see more action and higher levels of ambition across the world and I hope that other countries will be encouraged to match Scotland’s level of ambition.’

Picture: Qatar’s minister for energy and industry with Paul Whitehouse MSP, Scottish minister for climate change at Doha

However, Scotland’s domestic climate change policy remains contradictory. For example, while the Scottish government has literally begun an energy revolution in aiming for 100 per cent of the nation’s electricity demand to be met by renewable sources by 2020, Scotland remains the biggest producer of oil and gas in the European Union. And, while the Scottish climate change act is one of the strongest and most ambitious in the industrial world, it became evident earlier this year that Scotland had missed its first ever annual target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 

An official presentation posted online last week from the Scottish government’s director of energy and climate change, David Wilson, also revealed that including all the pollution-reducing policies currently put in place by this government, and all the proposed policies, Scotland will still miss its target of 42 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 by a considerable margin. So, there is a lot of work still to do and clearly some policies need to change. What’s really needed is for the Scottish government to start an energy revolution in transport in the way it has with electricity generation.

While all eyes are on international talks at the moment, come the new year, we’ll be campaigning hard for Scotland to live up to our climate change minister’s words on climate justice and to get the emissions from its own house in order. Public support for action on climate change in Scotland is still strong. Watch this film to find out more.