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Saturday, 22nd September 2018
A prayer for a greener Scotland
by Rob Edwards
28th Mar 2012
Source
Scotland's?three?main faiths have come together this weekend in an unprecedented plea to government ministers to raise the game on?climate?change.?They have warned Scotland must toughen its plans to cut the pollution warming the globe to help prevent millions from dying in poor countries.

Protestant,?Catholic?and?Islamic leaders are urging the Scottish National Party not to abandon its manifesto commitment to reduce climate pollution by 3% a year.

They?have?come?out?in?support?of?demands?made?by?Stop Climate Chaos Scotland - a new coalition of more than 30 groups with at least 1.5 million supporters. The coalition's campaign?for?more?action?to?tackle climate change, also being launched today, is backed by the Sunday Herald.

"We must not turn a blind eye to the suffering of the most vulnerable people who will continue to be those most acutely?affected?by?climate?change," states a letter from faith leaders to the Cabinet finance secretary, John Swinney.

The letter was signed by the moderator of the General Assembly of the?Church?of?Scotland,?the?Right Reverend Sheilagh Kesting; Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, Cardinal Keith O'Brien; and the leading Scottish imam, Sheikh Muhammad Ruzwan.

"Our faiths tell us that human beings have a responsibility of stewardship over the earth, and a duty to look after the world's poorest citizens," they state. "We are gravely concerned by climate change and see an important role for the Scottish government and MSPs in tackling this urgent problem."

The Scottish government has published a draft bill to tackle climate change, which is out for public consultation until April 23. Although the faith leaders?welcome?the?bill's?promised 80% cut in climate pollution by 2050, they are concerned not all the commitments needed to meet that target are in place.

The consultation document on the bill appears to drop the SNP's 2007 manifesto?promise?of?"mandatory carbon?reduction?targets?of?3%?per annum". Such targets, it says, would not create "a credible framework due to the large fluctuations in Scotland's emissions".

But according to the three faith leaders, the government's proposals "need to be strengthened if the bill is to live up to its intended aims". They point out that Swinney is in a unique position to ensure the Scottish climate change bill?really?does?show?international leadership.

They also explicitly endorse calls of the Stop Climate Chaos Scotland coalition, which include annual budgets to ensure cuts in climate pollution of at least 3% a year and inclusion of emissions from aviation and shipping.

The?coalition?also?wants?the?bill "to have enshrined within it the principle of Scotland making an equitable contribution to global efforts to keep average temperature rises below two degrees centigrade". This is regarded by?scientists?as?the?level?above which climate change could become dangerous and irreversible.

The faith leaders want governments?to?take "strong?and?urgent action in line with the latest scientific consensus". The cost of failure will be counted in lives, they say, as well as in cash and environmental degradation.

"Around 150,000 people are already dying each year from diseases attributable to climate change. Without action to cut greenhouse gases and help for developing countries to adapt, suffering will only intensify," they argue.

"The?current?situation?is?deeply unjust given that developing countries in the south have done least to cause the problem and are least able to adapt to the effects of climate change."

The leaders promise to encourage their respective Scottish communities to lobby MSPs to support strengthening of the climate change bill. In their letter, which was sent last Thursday, they also request a meeting with Swinney.

They are backed by the three aid agencies they represent: Christian Aid, Scottish?Catholic?International?Aid Fund and Islamic Relief. Along with environmental, development, community, student, trade union and women's groups, they have formed the Stop Climate Chaos Scotland coalition.

The Scottish government stressed it wanted to exceed a 3% per year reduction in emissions.

"We?will?have?in?place?an?annual measure of progress to monitor the practical steps that we take to achieve our?objectives,"?said?a?government spokeswoman.

But she said this had to take account of Scotland's "volatile" emissions, which varied by up to 6% per year because of changing weather and fuel prices. Reporting annual progress "within a multi-year budget process" would be the best method, she argued.

She added: "We welcome the views of Scotland's faith leaders and would encourage as many people as possible to make their views known."

Protestant,?Catholic?and?Islamic leaders are urging the Scottish National Party not to abandon its manifesto commitment to reduce climate pollution by 3% a year.

They?have?come?out?in?support?of?demands?made?by?Stop Climate Chaos Scotland - a new coalition of more than 30 groups with at least 1.5 million supporters. The coalition's campaign?for?more?action?to?tackle climate change, also being launched today, is backed by the Sunday Herald.

"We must not turn a blind eye to the suffering of the most vulnerable people who will continue to be those most acutely?affected?by?climate?change," states a letter from faith leaders to the Cabinet finance secretary, John Swinney.

The letter was signed by the moderator of the General Assembly of the?Church?of?Scotland,?the?Right Reverend Sheilagh Kesting; Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, Cardinal Keith O'Brien; and the leading Scottish imam, Sheikh Muhammad Ruzwan.

"Our faiths tell us that human beings have a responsibility of stewardship over the earth, and a duty to look after the world's poorest citizens," they state. "We are gravely concerned by climate change and see an important role for the Scottish government and MSPs in tackling this urgent problem."

The Scottish government has published a draft bill to tackle climate change, which is out for public consultation until April 23. Although the faith leaders?welcome?the?bill's?promised 80% cut in climate pollution by 2050, they are concerned not all the commitments needed to meet that target are in place.

The consultation document on the bill appears to drop the SNP's 2007 manifesto?promise?of?"mandatory carbon?reduction?targets?of?3%?per annum". Such targets, it says, would not create "a credible framework due to the large fluctuations in Scotland's emissions".

But according to the three faith leaders, the government's proposals "need to be strengthened if the bill is to live up to its intended aims". They point out that Swinney is in a unique position to ensure the Scottish climate change bill?really?does?show?international leadership.

They also explicitly endorse calls of the Stop Climate Chaos Scotland coalition, which include annual budgets to ensure cuts in climate pollution of at least 3% a year and inclusion of emissions from aviation and shipping.

The?coalition?also?wants?the?bill "to have enshrined within it the principle of Scotland making an equitable contribution to global efforts to keep average temperature rises below two degrees centigrade". This is regarded by?scientists?as?the?level?above which climate change could become dangerous and irreversible.

The faith leaders want governments?to?take "strong?and?urgent action in line with the latest scientific consensus". The cost of failure will be counted in lives, they say, as well as in cash and environmental degradation.

"Around 150,000 people are already dying each year from diseases attributable to climate change. Without action to cut greenhouse gases and help for developing countries to adapt, suffering will only intensify," they argue.

"The?current?situation?is?deeply unjust given that developing countries in the south have done least to cause the problem and are least able to adapt to the effects of climate change."

The leaders promise to encourage their respective Scottish communities to lobby MSPs to support strengthening of the climate change bill. In their letter, which was sent last Thursday, they also request a meeting with Swinney.

They are backed by the three aid agencies they represent: Christian Aid, Scottish?Catholic?International?Aid Fund and Islamic Relief. Along with environmental, development, community, student, trade union and women's groups, they have formed the Stop Climate Chaos Scotland coalition.

The Scottish government stressed it wanted to exceed a 3% per year reduction in emissions.

"We?will?have?in?place?an?annual measure of progress to monitor the practical steps that we take to achieve our?objectives,"?said?a?government spokeswoman.

But she said this had to take account of Scotland's "volatile" emissions, which varied by up to 6% per year because of changing weather and fuel prices. Reporting annual progress "within a multi-year budget process" would be the best method, she argued.

She added: "We welcome the views of Scotland's faith leaders and would encourage as many people as possible to make their views known."





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