Finally, a government minister has explained that we cannot continue our current ways if we are to effectively meet our long-term climate and energy objectives. Roseanna Cunningham, Environment Secretary in Scotland, said people changing their behaviour would be “critical” for the country to have any chance of ending its contribution to global warming within 25 years. Chris Green explains in an article on The i newsletter.
Expect your lives to change as we tackle climate crisis, says Environment Secretary
Households across Scotland should expect their lives to change significantly as the nation sets its sights on hitting its ambitious green targets, the Environment Secretary has said.
Roseanna Cunningham said people changing their behaviour would be “critical” for the country to have any chance of ending its contribution to global warming within 25 years.
Announcing plans to put the issue of climate change at the heart of the Scottish Government‘s next Budget, she said every department had been told to consider how it could help to cut emissions.
Earlier this month ministers said they would pass the world’s toughest climate change laws, with the aim of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045, five years faster than the UK.
The commitment is expected to have a knock-on effect in other areas, with Nicola Sturgeon telling MSPs that “all our policies” are now under review as a result.
Plans to drastically cut air taxes for flights in and out of Scotland have already been ditched, with the First Minister also signalling she is preparing to abandon support for Heathrow expansion.
In a statement at the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday, Ms Cunningham described fighting climate change as a “shared national endeavour” and said households should be prepared.
“Our response to the climate emergency will impact on how we live as a society and on how our economy operates,” she told MSPs.
“We all need to think more about how we can make our lives more sustainable, cutting down on waste and excess.”
She also called for people to “look closely at your own activities and those of your organisations and see what more you can do” to tackle the issue.
The Scottish Government is planning a consultation to run over the summer, allowing the public to have their say on the emission reduction plans and how individuals can play their part.
Ms Cunningham also said climate change would be placed at the centre of the Scottish Government’s coming legislative plans and its Budget for 2020-21.
But Green MSP Mark Ruskell said his party would not do another Budget deal with the SNP unless action on climate change was taken in “all portfolio areas”, particularly transport and agriculture.
The pressure group Extinction Rebellion, which has organised several disruptive protests over the past few months, said it was not enough to “rearrange the deckchairs on the Titanic”.
“It’s more consultations, summits and goals. An emergency requires an emergency response and this doesn’t even come close,” the group said in response to Ms Cunningham’s statement.
Calling for the net-zero target to be dropped to 2025, it added: “It may mean hard choices about how we travel, grow food and heat our homes, but the rewards are huge, and the alternative unbearable.
“In our lifetime we could see nature restored and our children’s futures protected.”