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Every policy must be sense-checked against the climate emergency

October 9, 2021 5:00 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

The Scottish and Welsh Liberal Democrat joint autumn conference has today called on their respective governments to rapidly accelerate decarbonisation and sense check all future policy commitments in light of the climate and nature emergencies.

The conference called for:

  • Rapidly accelerating the decarbonisation of those sectors that have recorded little or no progress towards achieving emissions reduction targets since 1990.
  • Establishing routemaps with milestones for these sectors to ensure that each plays their full part in achieving targets for net zero.
  • Sense check all future policy commitments in light of the climate and nature emergencies, and in recognition of the gravity and urgency of the situations.
  • The Scottish and Welsh governments to commit to these objectives ahead of COP26.

Scottish Liberal Democrat net zero spokesperson and COP26 observing delegate, Sanne Dijkstra-Downie said:

"In just three weeks' time the eyes of the world will be on Scotland. Delegations from all over the world will descend on Glasgow to talk about how they will combat climate change.

"In many cases those countries who are most affected by the effects of climate change; extreme draughts, severe storms, unbearable heat, are countries that are least resilient and least able to mitigate against the consequences. In many cases, these countries are also least responsible for the emissions of the past two hundred years that are now threatening our climate breakdown and causing a biodiversity crisis.

"Here in the UK, the situation is different. If you look at the last 170 years, the UK is the 8th biggest contributor to all greenhouse gases in the world. And even now, the average British person is responsible for more emissions in two weeks than someone from Madagascar in a year. Our lives and livelihoods may be less at immediate risk, but our moral responsibility to act as a country is immense.

"Although we are a small country, we can have an immense impact on helping to develop solutions that don't just work here but can be applied in the appropriate context all over the world. But we need to get our own house in order, and much more can and should be done.

"This is why it is so incredibly important that our Governments establish clear, ambitious route maps for every sector. Right now, we are not performing to targets and the targets themselves are not ambitious enough."