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Climate or Constitution - which is more important?

April 4, 2021 8:03 PM

Climate EmergencyThe world is on the brink of irreparable damage.

Decisions made over the course of the next ten years - probably less - will either make or break our planet.

The climate emergency is beyond dispute.

2020 began with apocalyptic wildfires in Australia, declared amongst the "worst wildlife disasters in modern history".

Extreme weather - and the fires, floods and droughts that follow - are becoming more and more common.

The global average sea level has risen more than 3 mm per year over the past two decades.

Scottish Liberal Democrats have long recognised the threat posed as well as the urgency and ambition of the action needed to combat that threat. We have been instrumental in forcing the pace of change, playing our part in ensuring that Scotland now has some of the most challenging emissions reductions targets in the world.

The challenge may seem daunting. But the pandemic has been timely lesson in what radical change really means.

Covid-19 has shown everyone what is possible when public interest and political will demands it.

We have seen how a global emergency should inform and influence decisions at every level - so that what happens on the ground reflects the best of our intentions - the transition from intention into action.

Scotland already knows what happens when these issues drop down the political agenda.

Ten years ago, the SNP promised 28,000 green jobs, with Scotland becoming a world manufacturing base for offshore renewables. in 2020 contracts for 114 wind turbine platforms for the outer Forth estuary were awarded. A Scottish yard bid for just four of them - and didn't get any. All 114 will be made in the Middle East and China.

Scotland missed its emissions reduction target for 2018. So while the SNP's rhetoric and promises are world leading - their delivery so far has failed to walk the talk.

As we move to ensure our ambitious legislation results in ambitious action, Scottish Liberal Democrats will continue to play a constructive role.

We have done in this pushing for greater action on electric vehicles, warm homes, plastic pollution. And will continue to do so across the range of areas where progress is desperately needed.

We have held the Scottish Government to account on their support for policies like a third runway at Heathrow, which flies in the face of tackling the climate emergency.

We need costed and realistic strategies on the way forward.

What we don't need is a list of excuses about why promises aren't delivered and how everything would be solved with the wave of a constitutional wand.