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by Ruaraidh Gilmour
21 June 2022
Scotland faces 'twin crisis of nature and climate'

Scotland faces 'twin crisis of nature and climate'

NatureScot’s chief executive, Francesca Osowsksa has declared a “twin crisis of nature and climate”.  

Osowska was speaking at the Holyrood Climate Emergency event today, discussing the environmental emergency that Scotland is facing.  

She told delegates that Scotland must stop the regression by 2030 because “nature is in such a decline that we have eight years” before the damage reaches a point when it cannot be reversed. Regenerating nature would contribute over 40 per cent to Scotland’s target net zero carbon emissions by 2045, the event heard.

Osowska was clear on the approach to improving the decline: “It is a twin crisis of nature and climate.

“We must tackle them together or solve neither.”  

Scotland currently risks losing 11 per cent of indigenous animal species and in under 30 years species abundance on land has dropped by 31 per cent. At sea, the decline is measured at 36 per cent, according to Osowska. 

She believes there is still time to right the imbalance, citing Scotland’s biodiversity strategy. However, she warned that Scotland must change its approach, saying that “doing what we have always done will get us what we have always got.”

She cited one of NatureScot’s many regeneration plans, Peatland ACTION. The 10-year, £250m project will restore the degraded areas of the peatland, which is believed to account for around 80 per cent of the total peat ground in Scotland.  

The project will allow further decarbonisation, as the peat soil stores carbon, and emits as carbon dixode. If all the carbon in the soil was released, in the form of carbon dixoxide, it would be the equivalent of 120 times the current annual rate of Scotland's greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Scottish Government.

At the end of the year, 180 scientists will meet with the UK's international environment minister, Lord Zac Goldsmith, along with counterparts from across the globe, to discuss a new global goal to halt the decline of biodiversity by 2030 in Montreal at COP15.

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