Nature charities call on political leaders to increase ambition on environment

14 Aug 2023

A coalition of leading nature conservation and environmental charities has called on Scotland’s political leaders to work together with increased ambition in the face of growing crises of climate and nature.

The call, directed at the leaders of all five political parties, was made in an open letter signed by the leaders of 26 organisations. The signatories to the letter have a combined supporter base of more than 500,000.

The charities have warned the party leaders against rolling back on their existing commitments or attempting to exploit the environmental crises for short-term electoral purposes.

The intervention comes following a summer extreme weather globally, heightening concerns over the immediate impact of the environmental crises.

The open letter warns that “the impacts of climate change and nature loss are increasingly visible in our lives” and says that “we are deeply concerned that our political leaders are not responding to the intertwined nature and climate crises with the urgency required”.

The charities have highlighted the need for ambitious legal targets for nature restoration and a well-resourced Biodiversity Strategy as crucial in reversing nature loss. Reforms to agriculture and forestry funding, marine protection, and reducing resource use are also key areas where progress must be made in this parliamentary term.

The letter states: “The status quo is not sustainable. Yet we have seen key environmental commitments shelved or delayed, and increasing signals that differing views on environmental policy will be exploited for electoral purposes or treated as disposable.

“All parties committed to strengthening environmental protection and restoration at the last Scottish election. Scotland – as a wealthy country, as an early industrialiser and as one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world – has a moral obligation to show leadership.

“There are opportunities in this parliament to deliver meaningful progress. We call on you all to reaffirm your commitment to the health of our planet – our life support system – by working together to rapidly support measures to reduce emissions in line with statutory targets agreed by this parliament, and halt and reverse nature loss.”

Read the full letter

Image: Sandra Graham

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