Charities hail Scotland's global leadership as Sturgeon signs climate deal with California

Green charities keen on new deal with California pointing to progress in Scotland’s renewables aims  

ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS have welcomed the news that First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will head to the US this week to sign a joint agreement with the Governor of California on tackling climate change.

The comments were made in response to a report in The Herald, that the first minister will travel to meet Democratic Governor Jerry Brown. who has repeatedly criticised the anti-green attitudes and policies of President Donald Trump.

In a meeting which will host no representatives from the Trump administration, the deal itself is also seen as a rebuke to Trump’s climate change denial stance and part of the Scottish Government’s new target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 66 per cent by 2032.

She will also attend a women’s summit in New York with former secretary of state and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, as well as a UN meeting on women in war-torn areas.

“There is much Scotland can share with others about how we have successfully created thousands of jobs from slashing carbon emissions from our power sector through the rapid deployment of renewables.” Lang Banks

Commenting on the trip, WWF Scotland’s director Lang Banks told CommonSpace: “Scotland has shown global leadership on tackling climate change for many years, so it’s great to see the first minister continue this by seeking to work with others who share our ambition to stand up for people and nature threatened by global climate change.

“There is much Scotland can share with others about how we have successfully created thousands of jobs from slashing carbon emissions from our power sector through the rapid deployment of renewables.

“However, there’s also much we can learn too. And, I hope the first minister returns from the US brimming with ideas on how to repeat the success we’ve had in generating electricity from renewables in order to begin cutting carbon from Scotland’s transport and heating sectors.”

Charities such as WWF Scotland believe that such agreements will encourage the Scottish Government to build on its record of cutting emissions and support for renewables for heating and transport.

The body has this year pushed Sturgeon to fuel 50 per cent of all transport and household heating from renewable sources by 2030. They hope this will make Scotland a green industrial powerhouse, but also end the scourge of fuel poverty which has stayed stubbornly high in recent years.

“Scotland has shown global leadership on tackling climate change for many years.” Lang Banks

Trump’s anti-environmental stances have given campaigners serious concerns for the integrity of climate treaties at an international level and threatened the US renewables investment market. The US accounts for 36 per cent of inward investment projects to Scotland and is considered a critical export partner.

On the trade trip, Sturgeon will bang the drum for Scottish business, as with her trip to Dublin last year, which saw her emerge as an international diplomatic figure independent of the UK Government. The trip is being pitched as a way for her to safeguard Scottish trade interests while not being seen to be cosying up to Trump whose first visit was from the UK Prime Minister Theresa May.

Trump, who has described climate change as a hoax, recently signed an executive order to chip away at his predecessor’s clean power plan in a bid to help the coal industry. 

Ahead of the visit, Sturgeon said: “We have a strong record in attracting international investment and Scotland continues to be the top destination in the UK for foreign direct investment outside of London. We have also seen a steady rise in visitors from North America to Scotland in recent years and a growing interest from the US market in Scottish products.”

Picture courtesy of FMS

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