01 October 2014

S4M-11029 United Nations Climate Summit 2014

The Deputy Presiding Officer (Elaine Smith): The next item of business is a debate on motion S4M-11029, in the name of Paul Wheelhouse, on the United Nations climate summit 2014.

... ... ...

Stewart Stevenson (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP):

I do not want to dwell on this at great length, but it would be helpful if the Labour Party read the Government’s motion, which merely refers to

“devolved powers to give Scotland a ... voice on the international stage”.

We are almost unique, because the Catalans have a constitutional right to be part of the Spanish delegation, the Flemings have a constitutional right to be part of the Belgian delegation, the Italian provinces have a constitutional right to be part of the Italian delegation—and I can keep going. However, when the Labour Government was in power at Westminster, Gordon Brown expressly forbade the Scottish ministers and their delegation from being inside the conference hall. Thanks to the Maldives, we were able to get a temporary seat in the hall and network with the appropriate people. All we ask for is parity with other substates around the world, and that is all the motion says.

However, let us talk about the substantive issue before us, because I hope and believe that there is continuing consensus on the need to tackle climate change. I want to rely on a definition of the environment that does not limit it to the natural world but includes the surroundings and conditions in which a person lives or operates. The ethics of the effect on individuals around the world is a very important part of the debate on climate change. Developing countries in particular pay the price for our climate profligacy. When I say our climate profligacy, I encompass all the developed world in that description, including Scotland, but it is by no means limited to Scotland.

We have heard reference to Mary Robinson, a good friend to action on climate change and a good friend to Scotland. She has said that there is substantial agreement among Governments that climate change is undermining human rights. I look in particular at what happens in Africa in that regard, particularly the gender effect of climate change. In Africa, 70 to 80 per cent of the farmers are females. Mary Robinson has said:

“Women on the whole don’t get agriculture training. And they’re having to learn now to diversify their crops, to have seeds that can survive in drought or survive in waterlogged [conditions], and so there’s a disconnect between even the donor community for this agricultural training, mainly focusing on men, and who’s [actually doing the farming].”

That is the price that is being paid by people in poverty in many countries in Africa. I hope that in our international engagement, whatever its character and whatever opportunities exist for it, we will be able to pursue that gender inequality in particular, because the effects of that gap between men and women are very substantial.

I wish the minister extremely well in Lima. I have not been there since 1980, when conditions in Lima were far from ideal for an international conference. There were burning barricades round the outside of the city, and the taxi that we were travelling in at one point actually picked up a bullet—I survived by two feet. I hope that the minister has a more satisfactory visit to Lima and that we can continue to tell the message of building on the 29.9 per cent reduction in our emissions over the past 14 years and that we continue to lead by example and articulate the reality of the economic opportunities from tackling what is a moral problem.


Stewart Stevenson
does not gather, use or
retain any cookie data.

However Google who publish for us, may do.
fios ZS is a name registered in Scotland for Stewart Stevenson

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP