Only With Independence Can We Fully Tackle The Climate Emergency | Alexander Bradley
Scotland Prides itself on its environmental awareness and its response to climate change. Being the first Nation in the UK to declare a Climate Crisis and breaking records for turnout to a climate change protest, when on the 20th September 2019, around 20,000 people showed up to protest international governmental inaction towards climate change in Edinburgh alone.
This was followed by the Scottish Government unveiling some of the worlds most ambitious climate targets, promising decarbonisation by 2045 and tree planting projects. But to many of the young people who marched in September that simply wasn’t enough. Even with the global pandemic raging on, students have been protesting outside of Scottish Government buildings every single Friday, demanding a Green recovery and stronger actions against climate change.
Even though these protests have not garnered the same attention as the ones in September those who are protesting have a point.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that the targets outlined by the Scottish Government and by almost every other world government are insufficient and will not lead to the desired decrease in emissions until the effects of climate change have already done irreparable damage to our ecosystems.
But in the defense of the SNP and the Scottish government, what Scotland needs to do to tackle the damaging effects of the Climate crisis is impossible while Westminster ties one hand behind our back.
Independence is a climate issue and the climate is an argument for Independence. Successive tory governments have shown an unwillingness to deal with the effects of climate change and have failed to prevent the level of emissions rising even further. Although Scotland has the potential to be the green energy leader of the World, already producing 90% of the hydropower in the UK and with the potential to create 10% of all of the wave power in Europe. UK government mismanagement and policies have led to a decline in Investment in green energy and are slowing the process of decarbonising the sources of Scotland’s energy.
The transition to green energy could also be a huge boost to Scotland's economy and job market, but while the Tories have ties to fossil fuel donors they’re hardly going to care enough to put the people first when it threatens the financial interests of their friends. Plans for Scotland’s own Green New Deal like those of the Common Weal, have a lot of suggestions that could bring Scotland forward in building an economy that works for everyone and a climate that works for the future. Suggestions like creating a national housing company to renovate and refit homes in scotland to bring them up to energy efficiency standards, setting up district heating systems and geothermal energy recovery to decarbonise Scotland’s heating, creating a new smart energy grid for scotland with better energy storage abilities and local energy co-ops to promote investment in green energy, and initiating mandatory buyback laws for big corporations would raise living standards, create a huge amount of jobs, and would give opportunities for Scots to escape poverty and for our environment to recover from years of exploitation.
But they all require financial investment and governmental authority that is being withheld from us by Westminster. Scotland has the will, the ambition, and the dedication to build a new economy and a new environment for everyone, but now it’s time to take back the power to do it.