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Scottish people want more action on climate change, poll finds

Words: Laura Edgar
Climate change / iStock-944879710

People in Scotland support further action on climate change, with 78 per cent of people either more concerned or as concerned as they were 12 months ago about it, a survey has suggested.

Results of the survey, carried out for Stop Climate Chaos Scotland by YouGov, have been published as the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) gather in Edinburgh this week.

Last year, the IPCC warned that governments across the world must act now to avoid disastrous climate change effects.

Also, MSPs will debate the Scottish Government’s Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill for the first time on Tuesday 2 April. The bill includes a target to reduce all greenhouse gases by 90 per cent by 2050. Interim targets include a 66 per cent reduction by 2030 and a 78 per cent reduction by 2040.

While the Scottish Government's ambition has been welcomed, the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee concluded that greater urgency is required to stop global temperatures rising to dangerous levels. Climate change campaigners, however, have criticised it for not increasing ambition between now and 2030.

According to the survey, a third of respondents to the survey are more concerned about climate change now than they were a year ago. Of the 1,029 respondents, 70 per cent support Scotland taking greater action in transport, food and homes to tackle climate change.

Respondents cited a number of reasons for consternation about climate change, including concern for future generations (71 per cent), threat to wildlife (65 per cent) and natural disasters (62 per cent).

Gail Wilson, campaigns manager at Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, said: “Climate change will do irreversible damage to our planet if we don’t do more to tackle it now. This new polling shows that people in Scotland recognise the seriousness of the situation and want more action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“As 200 leading UN scientists from around the world gather in Edinburgh this week, MSPs at Holyrood must take note of the growing clamour for urgent action on climate change. Mounting scientific evidence from world experts, alongside increasing levels of public support mean Scotland’s new climate law must rise to address the scale of the crisis presented.”

Aedán Smith, head of planning at RSPB Scotland, a member of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, added: “Climate change is already starting to impact on wildlife in Scotland and the IPCC has identified climate change as one of the biggest threats to wildlife right across the world. However, it is very encouraging that so many Scots are both concerned about the threat of climate change to wildlife and would also support more action in Scotland to tackle climate change.

"It is therefore clear that in tackling climate change we must avoid further harm and, wherever possible, also help nature. We need to make sure that developments intended to tackle climate change minimise their impacts on wildlife, and we need natural approaches to help protect us from the worst effects of climate change. For example, we need to create natural flood defences and provide more space for wildlife in our countryside, our urban areas and our gardens, to help soak up increased rainfall and provide shelter from sun and wind for wildlife and people.”

Image credit | iStock