Responding to Gordon Brown’s letter to East Dunbartonshire residents on climate change, Jo has said the Prime Minister must “raise his game”.
Jo delivered 350 messages to the Prime Minister two weeks ago, as part of an international campaign to urge world leaders to aim for an ambitious deal on climate change at the UN climate conference in Copenhagen later this month. The messages were written by people from around East Dunbartonshire, including Bishopbriggs Brownies, Rainbows and Guides, and pupils from the High School of Glasgow and Atholl Prep School. They urged the Prime Minister to make a deal which meets the demands of science and justice.
In a written response, Gordon Brown noted that taking account of the science of climate change would mean the UK committing to emissions cuts of 40% by 2020. However, the UK has committed to only 34% cuts, while the EU has committed to just 20%. In his letter, the Prime Minister states that UK target would be increased if the EU commits to raising its target to 30%.
Commenting, Jo said:
“I am pleased that the Prime Minister has given a timely response to the people of East Dunbartonshire, and I will shortly be sending copies to everyone who took part in the campaign. However, I am disappointed that while the Prime Minister admits in his letter that his proposals fall short of the demands of climate science, he is not raising his game.
“On the one hand, Gordon Brown is saying that the UK is taking a lead by committing to 34% cuts in emissions, but on the other hand he says the Government will only increase that target if the EU increases its target. We cannot lead the way by following others.
“The 40% target may be ambitious, but it is not impossible – the Scottish Government has made a legally binding commitment to a 42% reduction. I will continue to do all I can to press the Government not to waste this valuable opportunity.”
The number 350 represents parts per million, the level scientists have identified as the safe upper limit for CO2 in our atmosphere. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which has brought together climate experts from around the world, found that developed countries would need to reduce their emissions by at least 40% to reach 350 ppm of CO2, the level the 350 campaign aims toward.
On emissions targets, Gordon Brown writes in his letter:
“I note that the campaign calls on the UK Government to ensure that at Copenhagen, developed countries commit to emissions cuts of 40 per cent by 2020. The EU has already committed to a 20 per cent reduction in EU emissions by 2020, and if other developed countries make sufficiently ambitious commitments, and developing countries contribute adequately, we will increase this to 30 per cent. The UK has taken a particular lead on this by committing to domestic cuts of 34 per cent (on 1990 levels) by 2020. This would be increased if the EU goes to 30%.”