We can’t let climate chaos be our ‘new normal’ - Lorna Slater

Without urgent change, the awful damage we have seen from extreme weather will only become more common.
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

​Here in Edinburgh we experienced wild winds and rain, with cancellations to lots of trains and bus services and terrible damage to property and livelihoods. Granton Harbour saw the worst of it, with boats being lost to the angry waters.

Yet, despite the huge disruption, our city was not hit nearly as badly as some other parts of the country.

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For people only a short train journey away it meant fallen trees blocking roads, devastated businesses, burst river banks and the evacuation of hundreds of homes, pictured, some for the rest of this year. Very sadly, the storms also led to the loss of life. The rainfall has stopped, but rebuilding will take time. It is only October, and there are more storms coming.

Our environment is changing around us. The chaos we experienced last week followed the hottest summer our world has ever seen, with wildfires putting our Highland communities on the frontline of the crisis.

These kinds of extreme weather events are becoming increasingly common and their consequences even more severe.

That is why we must redouble our efforts to climate-proof our country and to ensure we are taking the action that is so necessary.

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But we can’t mitigate our way out of climate breakdown. We need to cut it off at source by taking the local and global climate action that is so badly needed. Yet, despite repeated warnings and dire climate projections, the pace of change is nowhere near meeting the challenges.

If we look to Westminster, the Tories are actively backpedalling on their climate commitments and have even given permission for the drilling of 400 million new barrels of oil in the North Sea.

The contrast between Westminster’s climate vandalism and the policies we are pursuing with Scottish Greens in government could not be greater.

We have banned permission for new incinerators, ruled out new coal mines, and opposed new oil and gas licences while they have doubled down on the fossil fuels.

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We are supporting public transport with free bus travel for young people and the removal of peak rail fares while investing record amounts in walking, wheeling and cycling infrastructure.

These are all vital changes, but we have much more to do. Climate change isn’t only at our door, it’s literally taking people out of their homes. We all need to act if we are to stop the climate chaos of the last week from becoming our new normal.

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