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Scottish Government urged to increase climate change support

Photo credit: Tommy Trenchard/Oxfam

Scottish Government urged to increase climate change support

The Scottish Government should increase financial support to poorer countries to help deal with the effects of climate change, climate organisations have said.

A coalition of charities and trade unions is urging the Scottish Government to “significantly” increase its Climate Justice Fund and encourage other wealthy countries to take similar steps before it hosts COP26 in Glasgow.

The call comes in light of a new global report from Oxfam that finds rich countries are currently “short-changing” developing countries by billions of dollars each year.

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, a coalition of 55 groups, trade unions and charities, including Oxfam Scotland, said that the Scottish Government should show “leadership” before hosting the UN’s global climate change conference COP26 next year.

The coalition says that rich countries like the UK have a responsibility to help poorer countries adapt to the impacts of climate change.

In a new report, the coalition urges the Scottish Government to significantly increase its £3m per year Climate Justice Fund, possibly to a minimum of £10m per year.

A separate global report from Oxfam finds that wealthy countries are under-reporting the value of the climate assistance they are giving to developing countries.

Oxfam says that of the nearly $60bn reportedly spent by wealthy countries on average per year in 2017 and 2018 on climate finance, the true value could be as little as between $19bn and $22.5bn.

In addition, the charity says that most of this money is given as loans, adding to the ”crippling” dept many developing countries already face.

Anne Funnemark, campaign director at Jubilee Scotland and lead author of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland’s report, said: “The climate emergency is, quite literally, costing the earth for developing countries. Ahead of COP26 in Glasgow, rich countries must demonstrate that they will stand shoulder to shoulder with the world’s poorest people by offering more financial support to countries on the frontline of the climate emergency to adapt to climate change while also compensating them for their losses. 

“As home to the host city of COP26, the Scottish Government has the opportunity to show global leadership by boosting the support it gives to poor countries via its Climate Justice Fund while encouraging other countries to take similar action.” 

Jamie Livingstone, a board member of the coalition and head of Oxfam Scotland, said: “The time is well and truly up for wealthy countries who think that it’s acceptable to respond to the global climate emergency by simply making vague vows to cut their own emissions while using creative accounting to dodge their responsibility to support the world’s poorest who did least to cause the climate crisis. 

“When it comes to climate change there is an unmistakable blame but an unheard claim.  Years of stalling and obfuscation by the international community has resulted in an abject failure to adequately support poorer countries who are on the frontline of the climate emergency, or to compensate them for the homes that have become uninhabitable, the land that has become un-farmable, and the lives that have become unbearable.

“The Scottish Government must seize the chance to show that Scotland will not abandon those being hardest hit by climate change to their fate: instead, we will significantly increase the amount of financial support we give poor countries and encourage others to do likewise. 

“Doing so now, well ahead of the global climate talks in Glasgow, would send a powerful message to a watching world that climate change is not just a matter of science, technology or economics; it is a matter of justice.”

Scottish Greens environment spokesperson Mark Ruskell said: "This report serves as an important reminder of the Scottish Government’s international responsibilities when it comes to climate justice. The fact is that those most affected by the climate emergency are usually those who have done the least to cause it.

“Scottish ministers have recently admitted that it is climate breakdown that is wreaking havoc with out infrastructure, but that is nothing compared to the floods and drought, food shortages, and forced migration experienced by the global south in recent years. In that context, the Scottish Government’s eye-catching targets to reduce emissions are scarce comfort to those already living with the impact of years of inaction by the world’s richest countries.

“The Scottish Government needs to bring more than boasts about targets to COP26 next year. It needs to come with solutions to rapidly cut emissions at home and hard cash for targeted adaptation funds for the most vulnerable countries.”

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