MINISTERS should more than treble the amount in a Scottish fund set up to help the poorest countries cope with the impact of climate change, a charity says.
It comes as a new study reveals the carbon emissions of the richest 1% globally is more than double those of the poorest half of the world.
Oxfam Scotland is calling on the Scottish Government to bolster Scotland’s global climate leadership ahead of landmark UN climate talks in Glasgow next year.
And it wants ministers to plough new millions to its Climate Justice Fund set up in recognition that the poor and vulnerable at home and overseas are the first to be affected by climate change, and will suffer the worst, yet have done little or nothing to cause the problem.
It comes as a new Oxfam report reveals that the carbon emissions of the richest one per cent were more than double those of the three billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity during a critical 25-year period of unprecedented emissions growth.
The report, Confronting Carbon Inequality, is based on research conducted with the Stockholm Environment Institute and is released as world leaders prepare to meet at the UN General Assembly to discuss global challenges including the climate crisis.
The Oxfam report assesses the consumption emissions of different income groups between 1990 and 2015 during which the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere doubled.
It found that globally during this period the richest one percent accounted for 15% of emissions – more than twice that of the poorest half of humanity (7%). The richest 10% – around 630 million people – accounted for over half (52%) of the carbon dioxide emissions.
The total increase in emissions of the richest one percent was three times more than the total increase in emissions of the poorest half of the population.
Currently, Scotland’s emission reduction targets are amongst the strongest in the world, with a legal requirement for Scotland to cut its emissions by 75% from 1990 levels by 2030 and to reach ‘net zero’ by 2045.
But Scotland’s 2018 emission reduction target was missed.
Oxfam Scotland says that ahead of the Glasgow COP26 talks, Scotland must “live up to its own ambitious domestic climate promises” to reduce emissions while doing more to encourage other countries to do likewise as they set their own revised climate plans.
Oxfam Scotland is also calling on the Scottish Government to do more to reflect Scotland’s role in helping to create and sustain the climate crisis by increasing support to poor countries who are on the frontline of the climate crisis by boosting its Climate Justice Fund from £3m per year to £10m per year.
It says all parties must then use next year’s Scottish elections to demonstrate Scotland’s commitment to climate justice runs deeper than ambitious long-term promises.
The climate justice fund, launched in Edinburgh in 2012 aims to disburse money to countries that need it.
It was announced by Alex Salmond, the Scottish first minister, and the former Republic of Ireland president Mary Robinson who at the time both called on rich nations to reduce carbon emissions, arguing that the developing world bears the brunt of flooding, drought and other natural disasters, despite doing little to cause such events.
Both called on rich nations to reduce carbon emissions, arguing that the developing world bears the brunt of flooding, drought and other natural disasters, despite doing little to cause such events.
Jamie Livingstone, head of Oxfam Scotland, said: “The global climate emergency hasn’t gone away; while the richest people continue to plunder the planet, the peril facing the world’s poorest communities grows ever graver.
“It’s a cruel irony that those who are being hit first and worst by the climate emergency did least to cause it. That’s why the richest people everywhere, including in countries like Scotland, who bear greatest responsibility, have a moral duty to act and to act quickly.
“And while cutting emissions quickly is critical, it is simply unconscionable to leave poor communities to deal with disasters they didn’t create. It cannot be right that our level of financial support for those on the front line of the climate crisis has fallen amid spiralling climate devastation.
“Ahead of COP26, the Scottish Government’s actions must match its words to show a watching world that its commitment to climate action runs deeper than ambitious climate promises.”
According to the Oxfam report, the richest 10 percent accounted for one third of the carbon emissions that scientists estimate will cause a 1.5C temperature rise triggering “catastrophic irreversible climate change”, while the poorest half of humanity emitted just four percent. Oxfam says that if emissions do not keep falling year-on-year and carbon inequality is left unchecked, by 2030 the world could reach the tipping point of 1.5C warming.
“Carbon inequality is so stark the emissions of just the richest 10 percent would trigger catastrophic climate change by 2033 even if all other emissions were cut to zero,” Oxfam said.