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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 February, 2005, 17:03 GMT
Call for action as Kyoto begins
Traffic emissions are one of the causes of pollution
Environmentalists in Scotland are demanding more action to reduce the emission of global warming gases.

Umbrella group Scottish Environment LINK has launched a major new campaign to coincide with the Kyoto Protocol coming into effect.

A total of 141 countries have signed up to the treaty, promising to slash greenhouse gas emissions.

The Scottish Executive welcomed the protocol and stressed its commitment to tackling climate change.

Pollution levels

The protocol, which became a legally binding treaty at 0500 GMT on Wednesday, demands a 5.2% cut in greenhouse gas emissions from the industrialised world as a whole by 2012.

Each country has been set its own individual targets according to its pollution levels.

The Scottish Green Party said that Scotland's record was "shameful" and much more urgent action was needed.

It has placed a motion placed before the Scottish Parliament backing the new climate change campaign by Scotland's environment movement.

The motion also condemns the US Government for its refusal to sign up to the Kyoto Protocol.

If we are serious about climate change we need to reduce traffic growth, not accommodate it
Robin Harper
Scottish Greens

Green MSP Robin Harper said: "Kyoto is a very small step in the right direction but we need countries like Scotland that can do more, to do more.

"The fact that the US is avoiding even this responsibility means it is rightly to be condemned.

"It also appears that Scotland has little right to be critical when we see Scottish ministers push forward major climate polluting road schemes like the M74 extension and Aberdeen Western Bypass.

"These schemes pump public cash in the wrong direction and continue the delusion that we can build our way out of traffic congestion."

He added: "If we are serious about climate change we need to reduce traffic growth, not accommodate it."

Couple reading paper/Pic: Callum Bennetts for everyone coalition
The everyone coalition warn Scotland faces an uncertain climate

Environment Minister Ross Finnie said Scotland had a "leading role" in identifying sustainable solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Mr Finnie said: "We introduced a substantial programme of measures in 2000, well in advance of many of our European neighbours or international partners.

"We are among the few developed nations who can demonstrate that our emissions are on a downward trend."

Scottish Environment LINK urged people to lobby their MPs to set strong targets to improve the environment.

They have called for year-on-year targets on cutting carbon dioxide emissions rather than more general long-term goals.

Summit 'opportunity'

The group's everyone campaign represents organisations including Friends of the Earth, the Mountaineering Council of Scotland, RSPB Scotland, the Soil Association, the Woodland Trust and WWF Scotland.

Everyone coalition spokesman Fred Edwards said: "Here in Scotland we are already seeing dramatic changes in our weather such as flooding and landslides.

"We can expect this and much more when climate change really takes hold."

He added: "This year's general election and G8 Summit provide a key opportunity to convince politicians to act."


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