Scotland politics

Scotland pledging £12m for global climate change 'justice'

Nicola Sturgeon at climate change meeting in Paris
Image caption Ms Sturgeon attended a states and regions event in Paris on Monday morning

Scotland is to invest an extra £12m over four years to tackle the impact of climate change on the world's poorest communities.

The funding will see the Scottish government's Climate Justice Fund double in size to support projects in countries such as Malawi and Zambia.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the move at the UN global climate change summit in Paris.

She told the BBC: "Scotland is leading by example."

Over the past five years, the Climate Justice Fund has invested £6m into 11 projects in four sub-Saharan African countries.

'Massive injustice'

Speaking from Paris on BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme, Ms Sturgeon said: "I think developed countries have an obligation to help developing countries who bear the biggest impact of climate change but have done the least to contribute to it.

"We were the first country in the world to set up a climate justice fund and it's invested £6m over the last few years in clean water and clean energy projects in countries like Malawi, Zambia and Tanzania.

"What I am announcing today is that over the next four years we are effectively doubling that fund.

"It's a relatively small contribution in the grand scheme of things but it is one very tangible way in which Scotland, as one of the world's relatively rich countries, can pay our obligation to some of the poorest countries in the world."

Image caption The Climate Justice Fund is to double in size to support projects in several African countries

The first minister attended a states and regions event in Paris on Monday morning along with representatives from 44 sub-national governments.

Asked what impact Scotland can really make at the climate change summit, the first minister said: "Scotland is a relatively small country but when we come together with others the cumulative impact we can have is enormous.

"Coming together and working together, I think, is so important as we tackle one of the biggest global challenges we face."

The Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF) welcomed the climate justice fund cash boost which it said "sets a positive example to other wealthy nations meeting in Paris".

Director Alistair Dutton said: "It's a clear recognition that wealthy industrialised countries like Scotland have a responsibility to help poor countries cope with the huge climate challenges they face."

Tom Ballantine, of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, said: "Tackling climate change is an issue of justice. Like other wealthy nations, Scotland benefited greatly from the era of fossil fuels, and it means we owe a climate debt to the world's poorest people, who are the most affected by climate change."

Ricardo Navarro, an engineer and climate campaigner from El Salvador, also welcomed the first minister's announcement.

He told BBC Scotland: "The climate problem has been generated by the wealthy people of the planet. Poor people have no goods to buy gasoline or goods that require gasoline to be produced.

"The guys responsible for the problem, the wealthy people of the planet, don't even want to acknowledge that.

"The climate injustice is the fact that people who are not responsible for the problem are the ones who are suffering the consequences."

'Missed targets'

Ms Sturgeon will also tell the summit that Scotland has cut emissions "by a massive 38% since 1990" and that global leadership in tackling climate change has received international recognition.

However, Scottish Labour said the Scottish government had missed its climate targets every year since the Climate Change Act was passed, and that plans to reduce air passenger duty would generate an extra 50,000 tonnes of emissions a year.

The party's environmental justice spokeswoman Sarah Boyack said: "We all have a duty to reduce emissions and leave this planet a better place than we found it - that means government, society and business.

"The margin by which the SNP has failed to meet their climate targets is enough to power Glasgow for five years.

"The reality is that the SNP's record is simply not good enough. Nicola Sturgeon is going to the climate change conference in Paris despite having a headline tax policy which will increase emissions by 50,000 tonnes a year.

"The SNP's plan to hand a tax cut to airlines will make it more difficult for Scotland to meet those targets in the future. We need more than warm words from the SNP government on climate change."