Environmental campaigners are calling on politicians to back stronger climate change targets as a bill goes to its final stage later this month.

The Climate Change Bill will go to final vote in the Scottish Parliament on September 25. 

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland – a coalition of more than 40 charities and civil society organisations – yesterday handed in an open letter signed by thousands of people to Holyrood

The note stated that, while Scotland’s declaration of a climate emergency is a
positive step forward, politicians must use the Bill to sign our commitment to action into law.  Campaigners are pushing for a commitment to further action in the crucial next decade, with an 80 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. 

Currently the Government has committed to overall net zero – or 100% – reduction in emissions by 2045. 

Tom Ballantine, chairman of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland said: “The world will be watching Scotland when the UN Climate Conference comes to Glasgow. After declaring that we are in a climate emergency, setting ambitious targets in this bill is the opportunity to match welcome words with serious action. 

“Setting an 80% reduction by 2030 as legally-binding target, as well as implementing coherent and immediate policy changes, would make Scotland truly world-leading. 

“This is not the time for tinkering around the edges and if Scotland is to live up to its global responsibilities, then it requires a united effort from all political parties. 

The thousands of people and breadth of organisations signing this letter demonstrates the growing support for stronger targets in this bill. Politicians can’t ignore that call; we need to see increased ambition in the crucial next decade.” 

It came ahead of what is expected to be the largest global climate strike next week. 

Youngsters are urging people to join them in the streets as more than 150 protests are planned throughout the UK, from Cornwall to Edinburgh next Friday, September 20, as children and students leave lessons and lectures to demand urgent action to curb global warming.

They are being supported by more than 80 environmental groups, aid agencies, social and religious organisations, and by unions, with the TUC Congress voting to call for “workday campaign action” to coincide with the strike.

Youth strikers are calling on parents, businesses, working people and politicians to get behind the action and demand urgent steps to tackle the climate crisis.
The UK action is part of an estimated 2,500 events that will take place around the world, including New York, where teenage activist Greta Thunberg will take part in a strike, having sailed to the US by yacht to avoid flying.

The global movement, inspired by Greta’s weekly protests outside the
Swedish parliament, has helped push climate and environment up the agenda, along with major UN scientific reports on the impacts of rising temperatures and the Extinction Rebellion protests.

Thousands of young people took to the streets in strikes in the UK in February, and in March as part of a global day of action.

The YouthStrike4Climate campaign is organised by the UK Student Climate Network, which has co-ordinated more than 550 demonstrations this year.
Next Friday’s global protest comes ahead of a UN climate action summit in New York, with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urging world leaders to boost national ambitions for cutting greenhouse gases to tackle the crisis.

It comes as polling by Opinium of 2,000 UK adults for the UK Student Climate Network found more than six in 10 (61%) believe in supporting the youth climate strikers and driving climate action.

In the UK, students want action including effective policies such as a “green new deal” which would cut carbon and at the same time reduce household bills, provide better quality housing, and deliver zero-carbon infrastructure and jobs.
Jessica Ahmed, 16, from London and part of the UK Student Climate Network, said: “The Government’s failure to tackle climate change and implement effective policies can’t be ignored anymore.

“On September 20, millions of people will be taking action globally, demanding change and policies that will protect our future, such as a Green New Deal.

“Instead of focusing all their energy on Brexit, we desperately need our politicians to put their time, resources and money towards dealing with the worsening climate emergency. 

“Time is running out.”

Anna French, a mother of two from Bedfordshire, who is going on strike, said: “Seeing the children take to the streets, I felt a great sense of shame that we have left this problem to them.

“We have a responsibility to do everything we can to help secure them a safe future.

“I am taking action now so I can look at my children in the eyes and know I did all I could.”

And John Sauven, executive director at Greenpeace UK, said older generations had failed and it was the children whose voice people now had to listen to.

“They’re asking us to join them as they hit the street once again on September 20.

“The question for adults today is - when your children and grandchildren ask if you stood with the schools strikers will you be able to say you were there?”