We need collective and immediate action on climate - Kayleigh O'Neill

Kayleigh O'NeillKayleigh O'Neill
Kayleigh O'Neill
Every day we read about new record temperatures around the world, we need to take action.

The Met Office recently declared that the UK will experience temperatures of up to 40 degrees this summer while Europe burns under temperatures in the mid-40s. This extreme weather has seen further outbreaks of wildfires in Croatia, Switzerland, Spain and Greece, power outages in Rome, thousands of residents being evacuated from La Palma.

These images are shocking, and our planet is only going to get more unlivable if we don’t act collectively. In Edinburgh we can play our part. We have already declared Climate and Nature emergencies ensuring that the twin crises are prioritised by officers when reports and actions are brought forward.

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On our Education, Children & Families committee Greens have secured backing to set up a steering group that will develop Learning for Sustainability in schools. Every school will now have a teacher with half-a-day a week dedicated to developing their school’s activities. We are also looking at ramping up 1.5MAX to develop climate projects between schools across the world.

A forest fire in Louchats, south-western France last summerA forest fire in Louchats, south-western France last summer
A forest fire in Louchats, south-western France last summer

But so many of the key levers obviously don’t sit with Edinburgh City Council, or any council for that matter.

We must fight back against Westminster’s obsession with fossil fuels and developments like Rosebank which will push us further into climate catastrophe. This month has seen protestors take action against INEOS with Climate Camp occupying Scotland’s worst polluter at Grangemouth and This is Rigged blocking oil shipments. Across Europe, Just Stop Oil are calling on Governments to take the crisis seriously - risking harassment and physical abuse from those who would rather keep their heads in the sand.

The Scottish Government is leading the change in the UK. With Scottish Greens in government we have delivered a ban on new incineration, a ground-breaking just transition fund and action to introduce free bus travel and curb train fares to encourage public transport use. But it’s not enough; we need to build on these successes and go even further at every level.

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It will need international coordination and action. No more broken promises and failed summits. Everything everywhere all at once is what the UN General called for in March this year. That is the spirit that we all need to show if we are to play our part in protecting our planet and ensuring a greener and brighter future.

In Edinburgh the Scottish Green councillors are fighting every day for climate and social justice. but we need everyone to come together and fight the fight with us. We need a generation-defining drive to urgently invest in renewable energies and industries of the future and an immediate end to new oil and gas exploration. We should support protest and listen to the voices calling for us to take the crisis seriously. We must act now for our future, our children’s future and for generations to come.

Kayleigh O’Neill is Green Councillor for Forth ward

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