Scotland’s public sector meets to call for urgent climate change action

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The Sustainable Scotland Network conference is setting high expectations in the run up to climate change negotiations in Paris. Today, around 200 key public sector professionals, decision makers and stakeholders will attend the 14th Sustainable Scotland Network (SSN) conference at Strathclyde University’s Technology and Innovation Centre in Glasgow to consider the next moves for Scottish action on climate change.

The SSN annual conference, organised by the environmental charity, Keep Scotland Beautiful, provides the key national meeting place for those involved in the development of public sector climate action beyond 2015.

The conference assumes particular significance this year, as over 190 nations across the globe prepare to meet in Paris next month for the latest crucial round of international climate change negotiations.

The event also provides a final opportunity for public bodies to contribute to Keep Scotland Beautiful’s consultation to collect views on climate change in advance of discussions taking place in Paris. Statements from the SSN Conference will be added to results from this consultation before being submitted to the Scottish Government to inform the delegation of ministers and civil servants attending the negotiations.

The conference will examine the vital role of the public sector in driving down Scotland’s emissions ‘beyond Paris’.

Scotland’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Minister, Dr Aileen McLeod, commented: “In just a matter of weeks international leaders will meet in Paris to agree a new, legally binding climate change agreement.  It is fair to say that our future, and that of generations to come, depends on a successful outcome.  Climate Change affects all of us, so there is a responsibility on all of us to act.

“Scotland is already three quarters of the way towards meeting our 42 per cent emissions target by 2020 and I very much welcome the efforts being made by public bodies so far – although we all need to continue to do more.

“As we approach the final countdown to Paris, I will continue to support UK, EU and UN efforts to secure a high-ambition treaty by promoting examples of Scottish leadership in tackling climate change and encouraging other nations and regions to step up and embrace the climate change challenge we are all facing.”

Cllr Frank McAveety, Leader of Glasgow City Council, will also address the conference. Speaking in advance of the event, Cllr McAveety said: “Glasgow’s aim is to become one of the most sustainable and resilient cities in Europe and we are making steady progress towards that ambitious goal.

“We’ve just been invited to join the prestigious Compact of Mayors, a global organisation committed to tackling climate change, and we are already halfway towards our 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target for the city.

“While we have made very good progress, we recognise that more needs to be done. Glasgow is determined to play its part and will continue to work with all of our partners to do all we can to tackle climate change.”

Derek Robertson, Chief Executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “At Keep Scotland Beautiful, we know how vital the next round of climate change negotiations are, and are determined that public sector bodies, as well as the general public, young people and community groups can have their voices heard.

“This SSN conference is ideally timed to play an influential role in the run up to the Paris negotiations. We are delighted to hear from prominent speakers such as Kevin Anderson, Deputy Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and Paul Tebo, former Vice President at DuPont.

“We’re determined to influence people, places and policy towards meaningful climate change action and this week we are calling for everyone across Scotland to air their views on climate change and the big issues on the table at the Paris negotiations via our online consultation which can be accessed at www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/yourvoiceatparis.”