Action needed now to tackle the climate emergency

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03 September 2021, UK: As the eyes of the world turn to Glasgow for the upcoming COP26, the James Hutton Institute has supported the recommendations issued by the Climate Emergency Response Group (CERG) in a report launched today, which outlines a series of key actions the Scottish Government must take now to accelerate their response to the climate emergency.

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The report comes just weeks after the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which made the gravity of the situation demonstrably clear: failure to limit global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees will lead to more extreme heatwaves, droughts, and flooding. 

The 12 key actions outlined in the report describe the practical, workable priorities needed in this vital year of COP26 to reduce emissions, create new industries and permanent jobs, clean air, and healthy communities, while tackling inequality. Scotland’s first citizen’s assembly focused on climate change, Scotland’s Climate Assembly, recently issued its latest report which shows a strong public appetite for bold, transformative actions.

The 12 immediate actions, many of which coincide with areas of research at the James Hutton Institute, are:

  • Transform four Scottish cities with a whole community approach to net-zero  
  • Make greener non-domestic buildings in which to work, study and relax 
  • Upskill the workforce to create Scotland’s net-zero and climate adapted future
  • Mobilise public sector expenditure to address the climate emergency
  • Unite central and local government to deliver on net-zero and create resilient places
  • Green Scotland’s City Region and Growth Deals
  • Make the climate emergency a guiding principle in all planning decisions  
  • Solve real and specific financing challenges to secure private sector investment
  • Incentivise climate and nature friendly farming now
  • Drive adoption of sustainable, healthy, climate-friendly diets
  • Maximise natural solutions to mitigate and adapt to the climate emergency on land and at sea, and
  • Bring all citizens to the heart of decisions about how we respond to the climate emergency.

Mike Thornton, Chief Executive of the Energy Saving Trust, a member of CERG, commented: “The clock is ticking. We must act now as the climate emergency is upon us and swift action is required from the Scottish Government to decisively change the trajectory of global carbon emissions and keep the rise in temperatures, as stated in the Paris Agreement, below 2.0 degrees, and ideally to 1.5 degrees. We have a narrow window of opportunity to act. The CERG report provides 12 actions that can and will make a difference on the ground over the next 12 months.”

Professor Bob Ferrier, Director of Scotland’s Centre of Expertise for Waters, based at the James Hutton Institute, added: “The climate emergency requires action from us all. This report aims to continue to build the momentum around Scotland’s approach to meeting this crisis and as we welcome a global audience to COP26.”

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