Friday, 9 March 2012

"Scottish pioneers of climate justice"

Alex Salmond - A proud "pioneer of climate justice"

Scotland´s First Minister Alex Salmond has suggested that 2012 should be the "year of climate justice". Consequently, the Scottish parliament has had the "first ever parliamentary debate" on "climate justice".

The World Development Movement blog enthusiastically summarizes the debate:

As SNP MSP Marco Biago said: “I am drawn to the World Development Movement’s phenomenal statistic—which I have no reason to doubt—that the UK emits more carbon dioxide in one year than Bangladesh has emitted in its entire history. When we have spent 200 years polluting our way to prosperity, the issue becomes not noblesse oblige—helping because we can help—but helping because we caused or contributed greatly to the problem, so we have an obligation to help.”

Politicians also recognised Scotland’s historic responsibility as one of the countries that created the modern world, with its reliance upon coal and oil for fuel. The image of the Scot as pioneer of old who ‘in coffee shops and taverns up and down the Royal Mile... put together the ideas that underpinned the modern world and the industrial revolution’, and who should now become a pioneer of climate justice, was a nice one promoted by Scottish Green MSP Patrick Harvie.

And as the Labour MSP Neil Findlay put it: “Scotland has been a world player in so many fields in past centuries, and I hope that over the next ones we will be seen as pioneers whose actions have environmental justice as a core philosophy, unhindered by balance sheets, corporate greed and further exploitation.”

Importantly, Neil Findlay also picked up on WDM’s concept of climate debt, saying:
“The World Development Movement argues that we in the west have accrued an adaptation debt because of our contribution to climate change internationally. It is calculated that our share of that debt is £22 billion over 40 years. I am not arguing that we immediately write a cheque to settle that, but it is morally right that we develop policies that try to repair some of the damage that we have inflicted. We should provide expertise and capability to assist countries in the developing world.”

The debate was also an opportunity for Stewart Stevenson ( Minister for Environment and Climate Change at the Scottish Government) to announce a new ‘climate justice fund’ that will help people in poor countries to adapt to climate change.

Meanwhile The Scotsman is reporting about "development movement" in the real world:

‘Twenty years of austerity’ for Scots public spending

SCOTLAND’S battered economy will remain flat throughout the first half of this year and public finances face an austerity chill of almost two decades before spending returns to its pre-recession high, the country’s chief economist has warned.         
The study predicted spending cuts would last longer and have a far deeper impact than first envisaged. Some £51 billion will be lost from the Scottish budget – a third higher than the £39bn forecast last autumn. The cumulative loss would build up year on year and mean an 18-year austerity chill in spending. Holyrood’s budget would start to rise again in 2017-18, but it would be 2027-28 before it got back to its pre-recession high of 2009-10.
Unemployment also showed little sign of picking up, with the rate in Scotland having more than doubled from about 4 per cent before the recession struck to almost 9 per cent.

Twenty years of austerity and spending cuts is on offer for the people of Scotland - and paying the £22 billion "climate debt", of course, comes on top of that. Perhaps we should congratulate the "Scottish pioneers of climate justice"?

(image by wikipedia)

1 comment:

Papa Zu said...

The minister would have an exremely difficult time proving climate injustice exists. For example the USA currently emits 5.6gigatons of CO2 but the GOSAT satellite that is currently measuring CO2 activity on the Earth is showing that the USA is a net absorber of CO2. The USA has over 375,000,000 acres of trees not counting trees in urban areas. They sequester roughly 13 gigatons of CO2/year leaving the USA as a net absorber of CO2. India on the other hand has devastated its land with explosive population growth and is thus a net producer of CO2 because of increased CO2 emissions due to land use change. I'm sure these politicians are totally unaware that there is technology to measure who is a net producer vs. who is a net absorber of CO2. The concept of climate justice is nothing but an emotional/religious appeal and not supported by scientific measurement.