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17/11/13 00:01

Sharing Scottish ambition on climate change

Philippines disaster highlights need for action at UN Talks.

Scotland will call on the international community to share its ambition on tackling climate change at the UN Climate talks (UNFCCC) in Warsaw this week.

Environment and Climate Change Minister Paul Wheelhouse will point to devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan as the latest stark warning for urgent action, and encourage other nations to set higher targets for greenhouse gas emissions reduction. Scotland has the world’s leading targets – a 42% reduction by 2020.

The UN climate talks in Poland brings together Heads of State and Ministers from nearly 200 countries.

Mr Wheelhouse outlined the Scottish Government’s key objectives:

• Influencing more nations to demonstrate high ambition: making progress towards a global deal in 2015
• Promoting the economic benefits of the low carbon economy which in Scotland has the potential to rise to over £13 billion by 2016-17 and be worth 10% of our economy.
• Highlighting the Scottish Government’s support for Climate Justice

Mr Wheelhouse said:

“The devastation in the Philippines is surely a huge wake up call to the governments of the world meeting in Warsaw. The delegation from the Philippines have already made clear the urgent need for action – our message is that other nations need to share Scotland’s ambition on this vital issue. This follows on from the highly compelling report by the IPCC on the physical science basis on climate change.

“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions isn’t easy, but it is essential if we are to tackle climate change – and I hope that Scotland’s story can help illustrate the way forward.

“And while we can’t necessarily point to any one weather event and say its caused by climate change; the UNCTAD climate data indicate there could be a significant increase in climatic disasters such as the typhoon which hit the Philippines last week or indeed Hurricane ‘Sandy’ in the USA last year.

“We now know that our climate is changing more rapidly than it has in the past and than we had anticipated at this time and we are already witnessing extremes that have not been experienced in living memory.

“The Scottish Government takes the issue of climate change very seriously and has taken action to put Scotland on the transition to a low carbon and more resilient future. However our actions alone are not enough – we need the rest of the UK, our European neighbours, and indeed all countries to share our ambition for the sake of global society. We simply must have an ambitious global deal on climate change agreed in 2015.

“The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report has again shown unequivocally that climate change is taking place and is a man-made problem. Ignoring what the science is telling us is no longer an option and all countries need to deliver ambitious action.

“This conference is a great opportunity to share Scotland’s experiences. We have the largest reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in western Europe and we are taking a leading role in supporting Climate Justice. It is also a good occasion to listen and learn from other countries as we are not complacent and are still striving to further improve our role responding to this global challenge.”

Notes to editors

Dr RK Pachauri, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: “The initiatives taken by the Scottish Government for tackling the threats posed by climate change are indeed a matter of pride.”
(Letter to Minister for Environment and Climate Change, 21 February 2013).

Speaking on 11th November, Naderev Sano, lead negotiator for the Philippines at the climate talks said: “What my country is going through as a result of this extreme climate event is madness. The climate crisis is madness. We can stop this madness. Right here in Warsaw. Typhoons such as Haiyan and its impacts represent a sobering reminder to the international community that we cannot afford to procrastinate on climate action.”

There has been a dramatic increase in climate related natural disasters affecting developing countries over the last four decades. See UNCTAD report Chart 28, page 128.