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We will showcase Scotland’s green credentials at Cop26, Holyrood minister says

·3 min read

The Scottish Government is planning an “ambitious programme of events” during Cop26 to showcase Scotland’s green credentials, a minister has said.

Michael Matheson, the Scottish Net Zero Secretary, said the Government wants to be a bridge between those outside the formal negotiations and those inside.

MSPs debated the “global ambitions for Cop26” at the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday.

The international summit is due to begin in Glasgow next week.

Scottish Parliament
Michael Matheson set out the Scottish Government’s plans (Fraser Bremner/PA)

Mr Matheson said the Scottish Government would launch the Net Zero Futures Initiative, which encourages climate action from states and regions.

He said children and young people would have “meaningful opportunities to participate” through the Conference of Youth.

The minister said: “We are delivering an ambitious programme of events that will support the global objectives of Cop26, advance our climate agenda, strengthen collaboration, and showcase Scottish activity.”

There will be multiple opportunities to showcase Scotland’s renewable energy and transport sectors, he said, which would put Scotland “at the vanguard of action internationally”.

Mr Matheson said: “I am proud of Scotland’s world-leading targets and the responsibility and accountability that we are taking.

“We wish to ensure that the promises we make are underpinned by urgent and ambitious action – even if the terms of the devolution settlement do not allow us to access fully many of the levers of control that decarbonisation requires.”

Scottish Parliament
Liam Kerr highlighted that workers are threatening to go on strike (Fraser Bremner/PA)

Scottish Conservative net zero spokesman Liam Kerr highlighted that workers in Glasgow are currently threatening to go on strike.

He said: “The eyes of the world will be on Glasgow and the SNP council doing the bidding of an SNP Government.

“And what are delegates coming to? Road closures across the city, ScotRail on strike because the Scottish Government shamefully refuses to get involved and the minister for transport has no idea – his own words – why it’s happening.

“Refuse and recycling workers, school cleaners, janitors, catering staff and lawyers on strike thanks to the legacy of nearly £1 billion of SNP cuts to local authority budgets in the last six years.”

Mr Kerr also said the conference would allow the UK to “showcase its track record on combating climate change”, citing a 44% reduction of emissions since 1990 and being the world’s largest producer of offshore wind energy.

Scotland power sharing agreement
Lorna Slater said Rishi Sunak’s Budget failed to mention the climate (Jane Barlow/PA)

But in an intervention, Scottish Green minister Lorna Slater said: “Rishi Sunak spoke today for an hour on the Budget without even mentioning climate.

“He’s lowered tax on beer and wine while polluting the rivers; maybe we should be grateful for that because it sounds like we won’t be able to drink the water.

“And he’s incentivised internal flights within the UK by lowering taxes on flights. They’re already cheaper than train travel.

“How can you say that the UK is leading on climate change when these are their policies?”

Scottish Labour net zero spokeswoman Monica Lennon said: “The great city of Glasgow is providing the stage for Cop26 – that should fill us with pride, we should embrace this unique opportunity to show the best of Scotland and to provide leadership at home and internationally.

“But it is also important that we get our own house in order.

“That’s why the ongoing organisation of workers through their trade unions is a strength – we should welcome that.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur called on the Scottish Government to oppose a third runway at Heathrow.

He said: “On the eve of Cop26, to retain any credibility on climate, the First Minister should rip up the Government’s contract with Heathrow to support a third runway and Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie should be standing by with the recycling bin in which to dump it.”

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