It is still vital to tackle climate change – despite the “disappointing” Earth Summit inRio, Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson told MSPs.
The SNP minister was inBrazilfor the Rio+20 conference, representingScotlandalongside more than 190 nations as they discussed how to tackle issues including sustainable development and protecting the environment from further damage.
More than 45,000 people were at the conference and nations signed off a document, ‘The Future We Want’, which has set out wide-ranging green plans. But the plan has faced criticism from environmentalists and anti-poverty campaigners for not being detailed and ambitious enough to tackle the big challenges.
Stevenson gave a statement to Holyrood updating MSPs on theRio+20 conference.
He said the event was “immensely valuable” for the government to have been participating and spoke in Rio about the Scottish Government’s Climate Justice Fund, which aims to help developing countries which are suffering the effects of climate change caused by industrial nations like Scotland.
Although he said there had been support forScotland’s commitment to addressing climate change he agreed that the text of the agreement drawn up by nations was “timid”.
He said: “It is fair to say that I was deeply disappointed that there was not more agreement on a more ambitious programme. Nevertheless we are still determined to engage with partners and there will still be a process in the coming weeks of analysing and thinking beyond the text.
“Others have described the agreement as “timid” and I have to say that I agree. It does build on the Durban accord which is to lead a legally binding agreement by 2015. It takes us forward to discussing timetable and resources to deliver sustainability but not as far as I would have liked and currently provides no certainty that either will be delivered.”
After being questioned by Green MSP Alison Johnstone on whether he would have signed the agreement if he had been sat at the top table, Stevenson added that there had been constructive discussion between senior representatives of nations after the agreement had been signed.