Nicola Sturgeon outlines Scotland's actions on climate change

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As the all-important climate summit quickly approaches, where cooperation between countries is key to addressing the climate challenges, now is not the time for division. But despite Scotland being part of the UK, the First Minister addressed the conference by speaking in terms of Scotland’s ambitions, rather than the whole of the UK’s. The First Minister made a point that Scotland is not an independent country, but despite that made little reference to the climate targets set in Westminster.

She said: “Scotland is seeking to lead by example.

“My pledge today is that the Scottish Government will do anything and everything we can to ensure that COP26 is a success.”

Ms Sturgeon then appeared to reference Scottish independence in response to not being able to directly impact talks next week as Scotland will be represented by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

She said: “We won’t be at the negotiating table directly, we are not an independent state, not yet.

“But as the host country, we do have a big role to play and we also carry a big and very serious responsibility.“

Ms Sturgeon then went on to list Scotland’s targets, achievements and ambitions, with no reference to the rest of the UK.

For example, she pointed out that the Scottish Government is hoping to play a key role in working with youth leaders.

She said: “One of Scotland’s objectives is to connect those whose voices are too rarely heard with those making the decisions.

“Part of our role will be to support the initiatives that will allow these bridges to be built.”

She also mentioned that the Scottish Government has funded the conference of youth, which will be the very first event of the COP.

Ms Sturgeon then hit out at Westminster again by highlighting Scotland’s status as a devolved country and not an independent state and spoke of her hopes to influence other countries.

She said: “We will be seeking to build a bridge between those sitting in the negotiating room, and the governments of cities, regions and devolved nations like ours.

“We carry a great deal of responsibility but a great deal of influence, we intend to use that to the full during COP.

“The focus at COP will inevitably be on the negotiations between the big countries but governments at all levels have a responsibility at Scotland is determined to play our full part.

“Our ability to do that depends on our own climate credibility, Scotland cannot urge other countries to set and meet ambitious targets if we fail to do that ourselves.”

Ms Sturgeon then appeared to try to outdo Mr Johnson by making it clear that Westminster and Holyrood have different targets for reducing emissions.

She said: “We aim to reach net zero and therefore completely end Scotland’s contribution to climate change by 2045 at the latest.”

This net zero target is five years ahead of Mr Johnson’s 2050 target.

Ms Sturgeon said: “Our targets are not just amongst the most ambitious of anywhere else in the world, they are also amongst the toughest.

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“We’re one of the few countries to have legally binding annual targets for every year of our journey to net zero.

“We have pledged to meet our targets through domestic effort, not by reliance on international credit reading.”

The leader of the SNP did admit that Scotland has, in the past, failed to meet the climate targets it has set itself.

Ms Sturgeon said: “The law in Scotland stipulates that if we miss any annual targets we must outperform in future years to make up for it.“

Ms Sturgeon mentioned that Scotland will publish an action plan next year consisting of additional measures like decarbonising public sector buildings and promoting cleaner and more accessible travel to help Scotland achieve their ambitious targets.

She hit out at the Government’s decision not to give priority support to “an important part of Scotland’s journey to net zero.”

Me Sturgeon also mentioned that Scotland has been supportive of a range of Carbon Capture Storage (CCS) programmes that are designed to reduce the amount of C02 in the atmosphere.

She slammed Downing Street for denying Acorn, which Ms Sturgeon said was considered the advanced of the CCS programmes, any funding.

Ms Strugeon called the decision “inexplicable on any objective grounds.”

The First Minister also addressed the issue of oil and gas, pointing out that Scotland has come under fire for its engagement with dirty fossil fuels.

She said: “It’s one right that the Scottish Government is often challenged on.”

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