Extinction Rebellion Scotland continue disruption as MSPs debate Climate Bill

  • This morning MSPs considered amendments to the Climate Change Bill
  • Two people glued themselves to the car park entrance so that MSPs have had to enter Parliament via the pedestrian access. They have now been arrested.
  • People lined the streets and entrance to Holyrood in a human chain so MSPs would have to speak to them.

Today the Scottish Government are discussing amendments to the Climate Bill, including setting a new net zero target of 2045, following advice from the Committee on Climate Change.

Extinction Rebellion Scotland (XR) demands a more ambitious Climate Change Bill. In light of the SNP’s recent Declaration of a Climate Emergency, we demand that the government take this crisis seriously and act accordingly, setting a net zero target for 2025.

Scotland claims to be a world leader in fighting climate change and sets a precedent for action to countries across the world. Scotland has a responsibility to live up to this reputation, and to take responsibility for “offshoring” emissions to the Global South.

Following the roadblock on Lothian Road in central Edinburgh yesterday, which caused widespread disruption, activists glued themselves to the car park entrance to Parliament, forcing politicians to walk through the pedestrian entrance.

While glued to the tarmac, Guy Bowen, 30, explained:

We did this so a large group of ordinary concerned citizens would have an opportunity to try and engage with every MSP and talk to them about what they are discussing today, because what they are currently planning to agree on is disastrous for our children and for future generations.’

Outside the entrance to Parliament, protestors from Extinction Rebellion Scotland lined the streets, greeting MSPs and taking this opportunity to discuss the climate and ecological crisis with them. Questions were put to MSPs on how they will be voting on the Climate Bill today and in the future.  

We are sitting outside the entrance to Parliament today so that MSPs have to come and talk to us ahead of debating the Climate Bill. That is our aim, and we want them to engage with us, to really discuss the climate emergency that they have declared, because their current bill isn’t going far enough. It relies on unfounded, unscaled technologies to sequester carbon. They are gambling with our futures and we are not able to stand by and let that happen.’

Dr Malcolm White, 32

This bill and the report assume that we can continue business as usual. The thing is that the IPCC report, which is based on scientific consensus globally, clearly outlines that we must have interim targets. It’s not about vaguely setting a global 2050 target of net zero. It’s about dividing emissions in two by 2030 – and that is a really important date. Worldwide we need to half emissions globally by 2030! It is only fair to do that by placing the bulk of the effort onto developed countries such as Scotland who have the ability to reach net zero much earlier.’

Thomas Widrow, 22

This action is one of several acts of civil disobedience which Extinction Rebellion Scotland will be undertaking this week to demand a more ambitious Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill. Amendments to this bill will be debated on 18 June 2019 and 25 June 2019 in Scottish Parliament, and Extinction Rebellion Scotland is demanding the net zero emissions target be brought forward to 2025, instead of the current recommendation of 2045, and for the creation of a Climate Citizens’ Assembly to oversee the changes necessary to respond to the climate crisis and enable the transition to a just, carbon-free society.

In pushing her amendments on Scotland’s fair share of emissions, MSP Claudia Beamish referred to the stories of people in the Global South currently experiencing the impacts of the climate emergency, featured on one of the Extinction Rebellion Scotland flyers she had been handed on the way in to Parliament.

She also noted the scientific evidence that their warnings on the catastrophic effects of climate breakdown are ‘not in any way an exaggeration’. Her amendment was rejected, as was a Scottish Green Party amendment to reduce to 2045 net zero emissions target to 2042.

Anna Fisk, 35, said in response:

MSPs have neglected their duty to protect the people of Scotland and around the world from the disastrous impacts of climate and ecological breakdown by basing emissions targets on wealthy corporate interests and soft science. They have condemned us to a 50% chance of keeping below 1.5 degrees of global heating, sacrificing the chances of future generations, not to mention claims of leadership, in a depressing example of business as usual. This is why we need a Scottish Climate Citizens’ Assembly to make decisions necessary to adequately respond to climate emergency. Today, as they have for decades, the politicians are failing us.