Our climate must be at the heart of our election - Lorna Slater

Scottish Green Party co-leader Lorna SlaterScottish Green Party co-leader Lorna Slater
Scottish Green Party co-leader Lorna Slater
Elections are a time to debate the biggest issues. But, when it comes to our climate, it often feels like the other parties would rather stay in comfortable denial than face up to the challenges we face.

​Even with our environment breaking down around us, they seem content to stick to the same failed policies that have brought us to this point.

I expect it’ll be the same tonight at the BBC Scotland leaders debate, in which I will join the Scottish leaders from the four other main parties to set out our vision and discuss the challenges we face.

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What could be more important than the future of our planet? We'll all present our ideas, but the difference is that I’m prepared to level with people about the scale of the crisis and what we need to do to tackle it.

The Tories don't even pretend to care. They've treated our climate like a political football and signed up for decades of new fossil fuel drilling in our North Sea.

Meanwhile, Labour has dropped its £28 billion climate plan and said they will keep every single polluting licence the Tories have signed up to.

The SNP are retreating from their commitments, saying more oil and gas exploration is fine if it passes a ‘climate compatibility test.’ Surely any test worthy of the name would tell us what we all know - no amount of new drilling is safe.

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It’s not just the Scottish Greens calling for an end to new oil and gas, it’s the United Nations, the International Energy Agency and climate scientists around the world.

What we need is a fair and just transition based on rapidly expanding green industries and sustainable jobs. That must be our focus.

I worked in renewables for years before I was elected to the Scottish Parliament. I know how skilled the people in the sector are and how much more could be achieved with the right levels of ambition and support from our governments.

The best way to fund the shift is by ending the vast subsidies and tax breaks that are currently being enjoyed by the fossil fuel giants and taxing the wealth that is being held by the super rich.

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Experts at the University of Greenwich say that a progressive wealth tax on the richest 1 per cent of households would raise over £70 billion a year. Just think how transformative that could be for our green transition and the services we all rely on.

These are the kind of bold decisions the next government has to be prepared to make, and that the Scottish Greens are campaigning for.

They will be at the heart of our manifesto and my contribution to tonight’s debate. Make sure to watch on BBC One at 8pm.

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