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by Margaret Taylor
31 August 2021
Activist Greta Thunberg questions Scotland’s climate claims as Greens enter government

Activist Greta Thunberg questions Scotland’s climate claims as Greens enter government

Climate campaigner Greta Thunberg has rubbished the Scottish Government’s claim that it is a world leader on climate change on the day Green MSPs Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater are due to be confirmed as government ministers.

In an interview with BBC Scotland, the high-profile teenage activist said that addressing the climate emergency would take more than electing politicians who promote the green agenda.

"Of course there might be some politicians that are slightly less worse than others. That was very mean but you get the point,” she said.

Earlier this month the SNP and Greens confirmed a formal co-operation deal that would gift government roles to Harvie and Slater, who jointly lead the Scottish Greens.

Yesterday, First Minster Nicola Sturgeon announced that Harvie is to be given portfolio responsibility for zero carbon buildings, active travel and tenants’ rights. Slater is to become the minister for green skills, the circular economy and biodiversity. The appointments are due to be confirmed in a parliamentary vote today.

Harvie said he was “thrilled” to be given a position that would allow him to “drive forward policies that enhance peoples’ lives while supporting the urgent goal of tackling the climate emergency as we emerge from the pandemic”.

Slater said her focus would be on “delivering policies that support our workforce and wider economy” on the transition to net zero.

However, Thunberg suggested that a more radical approach would be required to properly tackle the climate crisis.

"It's a hopeful sign that people want something that's more ‘green’ - whatever green means - but in order to solve this we need to tackle this at a more systemic approach," she said.

When the Scottish Government announced its Climate Change Bill in 2019, then climate change secretary Roseanna Cunningham said its goal of reaching net zero by 2045 was “the most stringent framework of statutory targets of any country in the world”.

Thunberg told the BBC that while some countries "do a bit more than others", none was coming close to what was needed.

The Swedish activist was speaking ahead of UN climate conference COP 26, which will take place in Glasgow in November.


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