Nicola Sturgeon urged to target zero emissions by 2050 after report shows world's poorest are hardest hit by climate change

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 2 November 2017 in News

Report from Oxfam found that on average, extreme weather displaced 14 million people in low and lower-middle income countries compared to around one million in high-income countries

Image credit: Scottish Government

Nicola Sturgeon has been urged to adopt a net-zero emissions target by 2050 after a new report showed people in the world’s poorest countries were five times more likely to be forced from their homes by “sudden-onset” weather disasters than the richest.

The report from Oxfam analysed data from 2008 to 2016, finding that on average, extreme weather displaced 14 million people in low and lower-middle income countries, compared to around one million in high-income countries.

With Nicola Sturgeon and Roseanna Cunningham due to travel to Bonn for the next round of climate talks next week, Oxfam warned that, “only a zero-carbon future can stop communities and countries from being wiped off the map”.


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Sturgeon has stated her commitment to efforts to keep global temperature rises under 1.5 degrees, with the First Minister last week telling the Scottish Parliament that calls to set a target for a 100 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 were something ministers would “think very carefully about”.

Oxfam found that in total over 23 million people were newly displaced in 2016 by extreme weather, though it said the estimate is likely to be an understatement.

The report suggests that around 1.9 million people were displaced due to droughts in the first nine months of 2017 alone.

Lisa Stewart, campaigns and communications manager at Oxfam Scotland, said: “Around the world, climate change is eating away shores and flooding homes. It’s leaving farmland bone-dry, shattering the lives of millions who did virtually nothing to cause it. It’s unconscionable to leave poor communities alone to deal with disasters they did not create.

“If we’re going to tackle this terrifying global reality and stop more people being forced from their homes, then we need our leaders to deliver bold and decisive action at national level.

“The First Minister has promised to show global leadership on climate change and now she must live up to her words by committing Scotland to a target of zero net emissions. Only a zero-carbon future can stop communities and countries from being wiped off the map.

“Scotland must send a clear message ahead of these talks that we reject any backsliding on climate change and, in doing so, the First Minister has the opportunity to cement Scotland’s reputation on climate justice whilst demonstrating substantial global leadership.”

Under current plans Scotland will target a 90 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 as part of the new climate change bill.

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