Scottish Government minister brands Cop26 a ‘failure’

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Cop26 is a “failure”, Scottish Government minister Patrick Harvie has said.

The Scottish Greens co-leader, whose party is in a power sharing agreement with the SNP Government, said the conclusion reached by the global UN climate summit in Glasgow is “shameful”.

The Glasgow Pact agreed on Saturday evening contains the first explicit mention of fossil fuels in a UN climate agreement, but this was watered down – in a push from India and China – from a call to escalate the “phase out” of unabated coal, to “phase down”, sparking anger from the EU and island states.

Mr Harvie, Scottish minister for zero carbon buildings, active travel and tenants’ rights, said: “The failure of governments to deliver an agreement that puts the planet on course for a 1.5C rise is shameful.

“The influence of fossil fuel companies is clear. We know that fossil fuel companies had more representation at this summit than any single nation, and the outcome has reflected that.”

He said his party would continue to push for more action.

As the summit ended, more than 24 hours after its planned deadline, campaigners called on the Scottish Government to take further action on climate change.

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said the conclusion of the conference keeps the ambition to limit global warming to 1.5C “within reach – but only just”, adding “the last-minute watering down on curbing the use of coal in the final text was a major disappointment”.

He praised the Scottish Government’s “positive role” conference, despite it not being party to the negotiations.

He added: “Given the yawning gap between climate action and ambition, we need every nation, including Scotland, to redouble their efforts, to meet all existing targets, and to look at where they can and should go further and faster.”

Nicola Sturgeon
Campaigners called for more action from Nicola Sturgeon’s government (Jane Barlow/PA)

Jamie Livingstone, head of Oxfam Scotland, said there were “glimmers of hope” at the summit, but warned “emissions are rising and we’re dangerously close to losing this race against time”.

He added: “Scotland’s own Cop legacy depends on the First Minister’s ambition going further and faster.

“After all, every fraction of a degree counts and every delay cost lives.”

He called for a focus in Scotland on cutting emissions more quickly, not missing any more emissions reduction targets and for the Scottish Government to “clearly condemn” plans to green light the Cambo oil and gas field off Shetland.

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