Our climate is bigger than any political party - Lorna Slater

​It's easy to assume politicians love arguing with each other. Elections and debates are presented as adversarial but, while there's definitely a place for robust disagreement, our politics is at its best when we work together.
Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity, Lorna SlaterMinister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity, Lorna Slater
Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity, Lorna Slater

​That's especially true of the major issues. And what could be bigger than our environment? It is bigger than any of us, so we need to rise above the temptation of party political point-scoring and work together.

It is in that spirit that, last week, the First Minister, Humza Yousaf, held a summit with all party leaders to discuss the climate crisis.

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We began with a compelling and sobering presentation by the outgoing Chair of the UK Climate Change Committee, Chris Stark, which spelt out the severity of the crisis and the need for ambitious and united action.

We reflected on his warnings and the need for big changes and investment in decarbonising homes, agriculture and transport.

All nations have to reach net zero, and Scotland is morally and legally obliged to do our part. There isn't much low hanging fruit left, so the years ahead will need boldness, and creativity.

As well as environmental benefits, there is a massive economic opportunity.

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Scotland’s green economy is already booming, with a 50% increase in renewables jobs in 2021 alone. We can build on that success, with even more opportunities for well paid high quality jobs in new and growing sectors across our country.

I worked in the renewables industry before I was elected as an MSP and it's a hugely exciting time for the industry.

But it’s clear the UK risks being left behind as the global race to build a green economy accelerates. In the US, the EU and across the world major public investment programmes are in place. In contrast, Westminster is actually cutting capital investment.

These cuts are passed on to us, and they must be reversed if we are to continue to grow Scotland’s green economy and tackle the climate emergency.

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Meanwhile, we are using the limited powers we have to take action.

I'm writing this column on the way back from the Cairngorms, where I joined the First Minister to announce investment into the Park that could reach £42 million over the coming years. This will support people and places within the Cairngorms and help it become the UK's first net zero national park.

It is two and a half years since the Scottish Greens entered Government. It was a risk for us, but we knew these years are vital and we wanted to deliver for our planet.

We need that same leap of faith and commitment from all political leaders as we work together to deliver a greener and brighter future.

Lorna Slater, Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity

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