Scotland climate change warning

Scotland is at increasing risk from climate change,
a new report published today claims.

The report, entitled, ‘How well is Scotland preparing for climate change’, argues that there will be both benefits to Scotland, and risks. It urges the Scottish government to take action to mitigate the impact of climate change.

Some of the benefits of a warmer climate detailed in the report include: fewer winter deaths, lower demand for heating, new opportunities for tourism, and increased agricultural capacity.

At the same time, the report details a range of risks. Flooding is a risk for densely populated urban regions, while Scotland’s disparate rural community is more likely to struggle with extreme weather, if transport links and essential services are disrupted. Scotland’s population profile is increasingly ageing, and the elderly, together with groups already vulnerable to health problems in deprived communities, are both identified as less adaptable to extreme weather.

Stan Blackley, Chief Executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said, “With the UN climate talks starting in Durban next week, this is a timely report. At those talks, we need all of the countries in attendance to commit to serious action to reduce carbon emissions and support those who are being worst affected by the impacts of climate change.

“While we already know the devastating effects climate change is having and will increasingly have on developing countries, this report shows that climate change will also impact negatively on Scotland, and that we need to both prepare for it and mitigate against it.”

Potential economic and ecological impacts are also identified by the report. One aspect singled out for particular attention is the potential loss of peat from Scotland’s sensitive peatlands. As well as providing an important ecological environment, peatlands form a significant carbon store, the report contends.

The Adaptation Sub-Committee of the UK Committee on Climate Change, who produced the report, make a number of recommendations to the Scottish government. These include setting specific ‘adaptation outcomes’ which seek to address potential consequences from climate change. They urge greater uptake of ‘low-regret adaptation actions’, the integration of adaptation thinking into policy and decision-making, and effective collaboration with the UK national adaptation programme.

Activists call for less ‘dirty’ economic policies at G20

Matthew Moore

An alternative summit will take place on 7 November in St. Andrews

A coalition of charities, unions, and advocacy groups have banded together to protest the G20 meeting in St. Andrews tomorrow.

The bodies, many with individual issues, have been meeting for months to further a “common cause”.

A beach side protest, a photograph stunt, seminars and workshops have all been planned for the hundreds expected to gather from across Scotland.

The Group of 20 summit is made up of 19 finance ministers from the world’s richest countries and a European Union representative.

Francis Stuart of Friends of the Earth Scotland (FoES) spoke to Edinburgh Napier News: “We’ve been involved in a steering groupd for months now, this is not about our own organisation, it’s about the common good.

“In the afternoon, we’re doing a workshop about carbon responsibility. Looking at the investments of banks on the climate, whether they are a cause for good or a cause for bad, more often than not they seem to be bad.”

One of the many issues FoES would like to see politicians commit to is more finance for developing countries.

“Long term, we’d like to see the developed world give 100 billion per annum to developing nations for mitigation and adaptation – to help cope with climate changes.

“We should give them money to develop as we (developed nations) did, but rather than in a dirty way, in a clean way,” said Mr Stuart.

In the short term, Mr Stuart said, FoES would like to see finance ministers commit to a low carbon economy.

Director of campaigns for Jubilee Scotland, James Picardo, spoke to Edinburgh Napier News about the results they would like the global meeting to produce.

“The G20 is coming together to discuss responses to the financial crisis, we want them to put people first, to implement climate friends policies with the focus on the wellbeing of people.”

A shadow council summit meeting in the afternoon is expected to draw several hundred people.

Mr Picardo said that the short term goal should be to ensure that in the current recession a risk assessment is carried out to minimise the effects.

“We need some form of emergency policies to make sure it (the recession) doesn’t affect the poorest of the poor.

“Longer term, we’d like to see a change in the climate of these discussions, they affect everyone and discussions should be more like United Nations conferences – with greater input from all more countries,” Mr Picardo said.

British Chancellor Alistair Darling spoke to European newspapers this morning ahead of meetings today and tomorrow.

Responding to criticism of the further £30 billion investment in banks this week he said: “We either take action and stop those problems happening or we fail to take action and we face bigger costs down the line.

“My message to my fellow finance ministers is there’s a job of work to be done here. I don’t think anyone seriously denies there’s a problem here. Let’s get on with it,” Mr Darling said.

G20 Protest Sponsors & Organisers:

  • World Development Agency
  • Christian Aid
  • Jubilee Scotland
  • National Union of Journalists
  • Friends of the Earth Scotland
  • Unison
  • STUC
  • Scottish Fair Trade Forum
  • Unite
  • Equity
  • Communication Workers Union
  • War On Want
  • Universities & College Union
  • SEAD
  • Oxfam
  • Take One Action
  • Justice & Peace Scotland
  • SCIAF
  • Tax Justice Network
  • Concern Worldwide

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