Scottish party leaders unite over climate change

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The leaders of Scotland's political parties have united to reaffirm their commitment to tackling climate change and cutting emissions.

First Minister Alex Salmond, Labour's Johann Lamont, Tory leader Ruth Davidson and Willie Rennie of the Lib Dems have pledged to help meet targets.

Holyrood has passed legislation committing Scotland to a 42% cut in emissions from 1990 levels by 2020.

It is also committed to a reduction of 80% by 2050.

However in January, independent advisory body, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), warned that meeting the 2020 target would require extra effort to reduce pollution.

Spending watchdog Audit Scotland has also said that achieving Scotland's ambitious climate change targets could cost up to £11bn and requires action in areas not in the Scottish government's control.

But Mr Salmond said Scotland was "almost two thirds of the way" to meeting the 2020 target.

He said: "We are taking action at home to reduce our emissions and taking action abroad by showing international leadership on this crucial global issue."

Earth Hour

The first minister and the other party leaders spoke out ahead of the environmental body WWF's Earth Hour planned for 31 March.

Start Quote

Everyone must do their part to tackle climate change and I hope that a record number of people take part in Earth Hour”

End Quote Alex Salmond SNP

Mr Salmond said the event was a "timely reminder that it is not just governments that have a role to play here".

The SNP leader added: "Everyone must do their part to tackle climate change and I hope that a record number of people take part in Earth Hour and consider what else they can do to make a difference."

As part of Earth Hour, the lights on some of the world's most famous structures, including the Sydney Opera House and the Eiffel Tower, as well as Edinburgh Castle and the Scottish Parliament, will be switched off.

Ms Lamont said the event allowed "people all over Scotland and the world to send a clear message that they care about the future of our planet".

Ms Davidson said: "The Scottish Conservatives backed Scotland's climate change targets in 2009 and we'll do what we can to support the Scottish government in achieving those targets. I'd encourage people to turn off for WWF's Earth Hour and raise awareness everywhere."

Mr Rennie said: "Scotland is a world leader when it comes to its ambitious climate change targets and now we need strong and consistent action to make sure that we meet these."

Green MSP Alison Johnstone also gave the event her backing, saying Earth Hour should "remind all politicians that we must keep up the momentum to achieve a green future for Scotland".

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