THOUSANDS of people are expected to march through Edinburgh today to call for tougher action to tackle climate change.
Scotland’s Climate March is part of a global campaign for action in advance of next week’s United Nations talks in Paris, where international leaders will attempt to hammer out a deal on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
Campaigners will urge the Scottish and UK governments to push for strong plans to cut emissions and support countries in the developing world that will suffer most from climate change.
The march has been organised by Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, a coalition of 60 organisations that have come together to campaign on climate change.
Marchers will gather at The Meadows at noon before marching to the Ross Bandstand in Princes Street Gardens for a rally and live music hosted by comedian and actor Hardeep Singh Kohli.
Scottish Greens leader Patrick Harvie said Scotland could lead the way in the transition from fossil fuels to a low-carbon economy.
He said: “Today’s march in Scotland’s capital city comes at a crucial moment. The negotiations in Paris must strike a bold deal to protect our society.
“The trend of rising global temperatures is clear and the impact will be felt by the poorest people in the world. The pollution that has caused this is the responsibility of developed nations such as ours. Scotland has the resources and the talent to lead the way. We can have many more jobs than currently exist in oil and gas if we prioritise decommissioning, renewables and energy-efficient housing.
“We also need the Scottish Government to go much, much further and faster on investment in buses, railways, walking and cycling to cut emissions from transport, instead of a tax break for aviation.”
Marchers have been asked to wear bright colours and unite around the slogan Climate, Justice and Jobs.
Tom Ballantine, chair of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, said: “We’re proud that so many people in Scotland are coming together to show they care about the fate of others across the world and that they want to protect the planet that we all rely on.
“We need Nicola Sturgeon and David Cameron to use their influence to push for the strongest and most ambitious deal possible at Paris.”
“Scotland and the UK as a whole benefited massively from the era of fossil fuels – now we need to take our fair share of responsibility for the world’s growing climate crisis.
Dave Watson, of Unison Scotland, said: “Our children’s future depends on creating a low-carbon economy based on a fair distribution of wealth, locally and globally, with decent jobs and public services for all. We must act on all these issues before it is too late.”