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Date: 5th August 2009

From Stop Climate Chaos Scotland

QUEEN APPROVES SCOTLANDíS WORLD-LEADING CLIMATE CHANGE LEGISLATION

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II today made history by giving Royal Assent to The Scottish Climate Change Bill, the strongest piece of climate change legislation in the world.

The world-leading Act sets vital international precedents and an example for other wealthy nations to follow ahead of the UNís climate change talks in Copenhagen in December, which will agree a replacement to the Kyoto Protocol.

The new legislation enshrines in law Scotlandís obligation to reduce the countryís greenhouse gas emissions by at least 42 per cent by 2020 and 80 per cent by 2050. Other rich countries need to adopt similar cuts to their emissions if catastrophic climate change is to be averted.

Queen Elizabeth signed the historic Act during a visit to her estate in Balmoral in Scotland. The Climate Change (Scotland) Bill was unanimously voted through the Scottish Parliament on 24th June this year.

Leading elements of the Scottish Act include:

  • At least a 42% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 (based on 1990 levels)
  • At least an 80% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 (based on 1990 levels)
  • Emissions from international aviation & shipping included from the start;
  • Commitment to report annually on consumption-based emissions;
  • Strong duty across the public sector to play a full part in tackling Scotlandís greenhouse gas emissions.

Cardinal Keith OíBrien, Scotlandís most senior Catholic clergyman and climate change campaigner said:

"Scotland is setting a crucial example to the rich countries of the world in efforts to prevent the unnecessary suffering of millions of innocent people through ever-worsening climate change.  The scientific consensus is clear; unless rich nations make early and deep cuts to their emissions, as Scotland has agreed to do, the situation will get much worse.   

"Wealthy countries have an unequivocal moral duty to reduce their own emissions and help developing countries who are already suffering the consequences of our profligate use of fossil fuels for economic gain. 

"Scotland has had the courage to set a vital international precedent with its Climate Change (Scotland) Act.  Others must follow this lead now if we are to have a long, safe, and prosperous future for humanity on earth."

Stewart Stevenson, Minister for Climate Change in the Scottish Government, said:

"The Scottish Government recognises that climate change will have far reaching effects on Scotland's economy, its people and its environment and is determined to play its part in rising to this challenge.

"The world-leading legislation introduces targets to reduce emissions by at least 80 per cent by 2050, and will drive new thinking, new solutions and new technologies putting Scotland at the forefront of building a sustainable low carbon economy."

Mike Robinson, chair of the Stop Climate Chaos Scotland coalition, which includes Oxfam, Christian Aid, SCIAF, WWF, Friends of the Earth, as well faith organisations and trade unions, said:

"It is now enshrined in law that Scotland will do its fair share to tackle the causes of climate change. The world-leading emissions reduction targets provide a vital lead to other wealthy nations ahead of the UNís climate talks in Copenhagen in December. Other rich countries must now follow Scotlandís lead and match the commitment to cut their emissions. I hope they will sit up and take notice.

"The scientific consensus is clear: unless developed nations reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 42 per cent by 2020 and 80 per cent by 2050 the problem of dangerous climate change will become irreversible."

Ends/

Notes to editors:

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) is a diverse, growing coalition of organisations campaigning on climate change. The SCCS Coalition has 60 Scottish members, representing more than 2 million supporters (40% of the Scottish population), ranging from environment and development groups to faith organisations, trade unions, student societies, care providers and many more. SCCS was instrumental in securing a strong climate act for Scotland. For full details visit http://www.stopclimatechaos.org/scotland

In December world leaders will gather in Copenhagen to agree a new UN international climate deal that will come into force when the first phase of the Kyoto treaty expires in 2012. For more info see http://en.cop15.dk/

For more info on how the Scottish Act can make a difference in Copenhagen, see http://www.stopclimatechaos.org/scotland

On Saturday December 5, tens of thousands of people will gather in Glasgow and London to call for action on climate change. For more info see http://www.stopclimatechaos.org/scotland

UNISON Scotland news releases: Stay in touch with UNISON Scotland's latest news releases on our website http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/news/index.html and frequent updates on our blog http://unison-scotland.blogspot.com/

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