Kezia Dugdale: We must stop pretending about climate change

Last week the IPCC produced a staggeringly stark report into the impact of climate change and our failure to act as a global community.

Tuesday, 16th October 2018, 8:00 am
Closing Longannet coal-fired power station made a huge difference to Scotland's carbon emissions (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

The IPCC isn’t just any old acronym, it’s the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – the UN’s group of leading climate change experts from around the world. They warned that urgent action was needed if we are to have any chance of stopping the world getting hotter and therefore preventing the devastation that would follow.

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Joyce McMillan: Why politicians are failing to tackle climate change

Most of the debate in the Scottish Parliament around climate change is focused on targets. We debate what the targets should be, then debate whether or not they’ve been met. We pride ourselves on having the most ambitious targets in the world and then blink and move on when we miss them.

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Hands up – we did meet the most recent annual targets though. That’s only because we closed Longannet power station and you can’t bank on having something like that in your back pocket year after year. It also masked the reality that our agriculture emissions are stagnant and our transport emissions are on the up.

To bring these down, we need to talk about meat and how much of it we consume. If we can’t give it up completely, there needs to be a much greater focus on locally sourced meat, nitrogen-free fertilisers and – dare I say it – vaccines that make cows less, well, windy. That alone won’t do, but neither will pretending that we’re doing enough.