This December I’ll be travelling to Paris with fellow members of the 2050 Climate Group, a collection of young professionals from across Scotland who share a commitment to climate change mitigation and adaptation, and accelerating Scotland’s transition to a low carbon economy.
The group is presenting a session at the United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP) about engaging the next generation of leaders on climate action, but before this I’ll be marching on home turf in Edinburgh to call for a strong agreement and action on climate change mitigation both here and on an international platform.
2015 will be the 21st edition of COP and world leaders are aiming to achieve a legally binding, fully articulated agreement which will apply to all countries.
What’s interesting is how this year’s process will be different from its predecessors. Whilst the first few years of climate negotiations focused around “top-down” targets to drive national action this year individual countries are being asked to contribute their own plans for carbon reduction instead, and an agreement at a global level will ensure each nation’s pledges adds up to sufficient international action.
Closer to home Scotland is already working towards meeting its own targets outlined in the 2009 Climate Change Act; a 42% reduction of the 1990 baseline level by 2020, and 80% reduction by 2050.
Tackling transport emissions plays a significant part in this as it accounted for 21% of total Scottish emissions in 2012. Car use remains the single biggest contributor towards transport emissions and so walking and cycling can play a significant part in reducing these harmful greenhouse gases. The Bike Life Edinburgh report published earlier this year shows that in the capital alone 6,234 tonnes of CO2 are saved annually by people riding a bike rather than driving – equivalent to the annual emissions of over 2,400 cars.
Choosing active travel is one of the everyday actions individuals can have some control over and providing the right infrastructure serves to add value and complement our public transport network. Working together to meet the objectives of the Cycling Action Plan for Scotland and the National Walking Strategy (and more!) we can help decarbonise transport and make our towns and cities healthier, cleaner and greener places to live.
This originally featured on the Sustrans website, you can view it here: http://www.sustrans.org.uk/blog/scottish-action-climate-change