A climate act for all our futures


Lyson and Theresa and four of their children, Dowa District, Malawi


This month you have a chance to input into a public consultation on Scotland’s Climate Change Bill, whether you’re based in Scotland or not. Tearfund is a member of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, a diverse coalition of civil society organisations in Scotland campaigning together on climate change. Read more about why we want a more ambitious climate act; one that represents climate justice for all. 

Global temperatures in July this year were the 2nd highest ever recorded . For Nepali families recovering from recent floods or farmers in Malawi fearful of another small harvest, these rising temperatures contribute towards a changing climate that is having a very real impact.

Lyson, from the Dowa District in Malawi explains: “In the past the soil here used to be very fertile. We would grow our crops and harvest a lot. But over the years the environment has been destroyed and the soil has become infertile. Because of climate change there are less rains, and we are harvesting only a little food – which is a big challenge for us.” 

This month we have a unique opportunity in Scotland to say to our friends in Nepal, in Malawi and around the world, that we stand with you and will ask our government to act for all our futures.  

Next year the Scottish Parliament will consider a new Climate Change Bill to replace the 2009 Act, and through an open consultation the Scottish public have until the 22nd September 2017 to say what should be included in it. This is a short window to call on our government to act with ambition, compassion and fairness to ensure how we live in Scotland improves the wellbeing of not just Scots, but communities around the world.

For international development organisations like Tearfund the mandate for climate action goes beyond our domestic considerations. Our partners from around the world regularly share first-hand experience of the climate injustice they face. This is not about charity, but about justice. The truth is those who are facing the full force of a changing climate are the ones who have contributed least to it.

Scotland has a long history of being an outward-facing nation, recognising our wellbeing to be inextricably linked with the wellbeing of others. This bill affords us the chance to say to the world that we remain committed to acting as a responsible and compassionate nation.

The Scottish Government should rightly be congratulated for its ambition, and progress, on climate action to date. On Tuesday this week Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, announced one of the “greenest ever” programmes for government, but if its reputation as a global leader in this area is to remain we need a bold new commitment.

The Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Climate, Roseanna Cunningham wrote in June that Scotland would reinforce its status as an international climate change leader through new proposals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the current Act’s target of 80% to at least 90% by 2050 (based on advice from the UK Climate Change Committee). Tearfund – along with other members of the Stop Climate Chaos Scotland Coalition (SCCS) – believe this doesn’t far enough, soon enough.

SCCS argues that the Paris Agreement’s (the international agreement on climate action) goal of emissions neutrality between emissions sources and removals by “the second half of this century, on the basis of equity” implies that Scotland, and other developed countries, will have to go significantly further than the Scottish Government’s ‘at least 90%’ goal by 2050, to limit global temperature change to 1.5 degrees.

Tom Ballantine, Chair of SCCS says “committing to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 would fulfil both our international obligations and create a fairer, more sustainable and successful Scotland.”

Towards this end members of SCCS are calling on the Scottish Government to include the following in the upcoming Climate Change Bill:

  • Set a target of zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 at the latest, and a reduction of 77% by 2030
  • Ensure that future finance budgets are consistent with climate targets
  • Commit to actions that cut emissions and deliver a cleaner, healthier, more prosperous Scotland by improving energy efficiency in homes, investing in cleaner transport and through greener farming.

The public consultation on the Climate Change Bill is currently open until 22nd September 2017, whether you’re based in Scotland or not, click the link below to show your support for a more ambitious act and stand up for climate justice for all.

SCCS action on the Climate Change Act



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