Scotland politics

Climate activists chain themselves to Scottish Parliament

Holyrood protestors
Image caption Five activists chained themselves by the neck to the facade of the Holyrood building

A group of environmental activists chained themselves to the Scottish Parliament building to urge "radical" action over climate change.

The Extinction Rebellion group sent keys to each of Holyrood's parties in a bid to force them to discuss policy.

They were successful, with MSPs including Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham coming out to speak to them - and unchain them.

The group said emissions targets were "nowhere near ambitious enough".

Ms Cunningham told them that the government was "working very, very hard" and had some of the "most ambitious" targets in the world.

The protesters used bike locks around their necks to attach themselves to the facade of the Scottish Parliament building, near the public entrance.

They sent the keys for the locks to senior MSPs from each of Holyrood's parties, along with a note calling for "radical cuts in emissions".

They said the current Climate Bill being considered at Holyrood - which targets net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 - was "nowhere near ambitious enough to minimise the risk of catastrophic climate change", adding that "a target of 2045 is tantamount to accepting ecocide".

Image caption Scottish Green co-convener Patrick Harvie was the first party leader to arrive

Party staff initially struggled to locate the keys, which had been held up by security checks in the internal Holyrood mail system.

The first politician to arrive was Scottish Green co-convener Patrick Harvie, who said "getting people's voices into the debate" about climate change policy was "really crucial".

Image caption Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie was initially unable to find the key sent to his party

He was followed by Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie, Scottish Conservative low carbon economy spokesman Maurice Golden, and Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard.

Image caption The Scottish Conservatives sent low carbon economy spokesman Maurice Golden with another key
Image caption Richard Leonard released another protester on behalf of Scottish Labour

Ms Cunningham then released the final protester, telling him that a citizens' assembly on climate change was "absolutely on the cards".

A spokesman for the Scottish government said there was a "climate emergency", and said ministers were "acting accordingly".

He said: "We acted immediately on the recent advice of independent scientific advisers, the UK Committee on Climate Change (CCC), by lodging amendments to our Climate Change Bill that set a net-zero target for 2045.

"Our proposals are the most ambitious statutory targets anywhere in the world and would mean that Scotland's contribution to climate change will end, definitively, within a generation."

Image caption Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham released the final protester

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