Scottish Greens say climate 'most pressing' election issue

Image source, Scottish Greens
Image caption,
The Scottish Green Party launched its general election campaign in South Queensferry

The Scottish Green Party has launched its general election campaign with a call to tackle the climate emergency.

The party says the issue is the "most pressing" facing voters on 12 December.

Co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater highlighted Westminster powers which could be used to address the climate emergency in Scotland.

The next UK government will oversee a crucial period for limiting the temperature rise in line with UN targets to avoid a climate catastrophe.

Speaking earlier, Mr Harvie said there had never been a more important general election. He said the "establishment parties" had not committed to the "urgent action required" on climate change.

His co-leader, Lorna Slater, said Westminster had to "step up to the plate".

The pro-independence party has already proposed policy changes - in their Scottish Green New Deal proposals - which could be carried out under powers already devolved to Holyrood, but Ms Slater said tacking climate change would be easier if Scotland had full control over all policy areas.

She said: "A Scottish Green New Deal would be so much easier with the levers over fiscal, economic and monetary policy, air transport, electricity, energy efficiency, registration of land and to transition away from oil and gas, coal and nuclear energy."

Image source, Scottish Greens
Image caption,
Co-leaders Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie launched the party's election campaign

At the campaign launch, Ms Slater said the party's key message was that the climate emergency required "significant changes" to society that "has to start now - it can't wait for Brexit, it can't wait for independence".

Mr Harvie said: "The UK government that's about to be elected will be in place for half of the 10-year period that the IPCC has given us to take the radical action that's necessary.

"It's not okay to give them a free pass on the climate emergency."

Elsewhere on the Scottish general election campaign trail:

Tactical voting

Local branches of the party decide which constituencies will stand candidates. So far, 21 candidates have been confirmed across Scotland's 59 constituencies. The party said "a handful" of branches were still to make a decision on whether they would put up candidates for election.

They have not announced a candidate for several seats where the SNP are defending small majorities.

No Green candidate has been put selected yet for Fife North East - where the SNP's Stephen Gethins' is defending a majority of just two votes.

He tweeted earlier this month that he hoped he could speak to the Greens about working together to stop a Conservative MP winning the seat. The party has not yet announced a candidate to run against Mr Wishart.

At the campaign launch Mr Harvie said he understood that some people would "feel the need to vote tactically" because of the "abysmal" first-past-the-post voting system used at Westminster.

He said: "There's a lot of priorities that people have - whether that's independence, whether it's stopping Brexit, whether it's getting Boris Johnson out of office.

"But we're here to say one of the overriding priorities for all of us is the climate emergency - the Scottish Greens are the only party putting that front and centre in our campaign."