I am proud that the Scottish Government is supporting Earth Hour. 2015 is a crucial year for mobilising international effort against the impacts of climate change. In December, governments from around the world will meet in Paris and agree a new global treaty on climate change under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change process.
Scotland already punches well above its weight on the international stage. It’s vitally important that Scotland, in this momentous year, commits to supporting Earth Hour and continues to demonstrate our international leadership in tackling climate change.
The scientific evidence is clear: the world is getting warmer and greenhouse gas emissions from humankind are extremely likely to be the dominant cause of climate change. Scotland, for our part, is committed to tackling this. In 2009, we set world leading targets through legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 42% by 2020 and 80% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels and, we are making good progress in meeting them.
Our climate change targets are not easy but they’re at the level the international community needs to match if the new climate treaty in Paris is to stand a good chance of limiting global temperature rise to no more than 2 degrees Celsius.
Climate change impacts on every person on the planet but it affects the poorest and most vulnerable disproportionately. It’s time for the global community to step up and follow Scotland’s lead in tackling climate change and championing climate justice. However, these targets are not just for governments or politicians – everyone has a role to play.
In 2014, thousands of people across Scotland joined hundreds of millions of others in 162 countries across the world in switching off all non-essential lighting during Earth Hour. Nearly 530 communities across the length and breadth of Scotland have also received support for their own local actions on climate change from our Climate Challenge Fund.
Here in Scotland, we are committed to the transition to a low carbon economy based on growth which reduces inequalities and allows everyone to realise their potential, reduces disparities across society, and protects and improves Scotland’s natural environment. Tackling such inequalities are not just valued objectives in their own right, but also essential for delivering a more prosperous and resilient future.
Through our innovative Climate Justice Fund, we are also making a difference to the lives of those in some of the world’s poorest communities in countries like Malawi. These families and communities have done the least to cause climate change but are often badly affected, particularly women and children. We have also supported the Scotland Light’s Up Malawi initiative, a collaboration between Scotland’s 2020 Group, Keep Scotland Beautiful, Glasgow Caledonian University, and Solaraid, which will invest in solar lamps for use by communities in Malawi. So whilst we switch off for Earth Hour, communities in Malawi can switch on.
The Scottish Government will continue to support Earth Hour in 2015 and we anticipate a great response from the rest of the public sector. I urge all of the people of Scotland to play their part too.
Rt Hon Nicola Sturgeon MSP, First Minister of Scotland
Are you signed up for WWF’s Earth Hour? Let us know what you will be doing