Page last updated at 15:01 GMT, Monday, 10 December 2012

UN climate change negotiations debate

Environment and Climate Change Minister Paul Wheelhouse said Scotland needs to accelerate action on climate change, but also efforts on climate justice and in "moving the international community towards higher ambition".

Mr Wheelhouse was leading a debate on the recent UN climate change negotiations in Doha, which ended with a historic shift in principle but few genuine cuts in greenhouse gases, on 13 December 2012.

His motion, which was amended by Scottish Labour, was passed unanimously at decision time.

The summit established for the first time that rich nations should move towards compensating poor nations for losses due to climate change.

Developing nations hailed it as a breakthrough, but condemned the gulf between the science of climate change and political attempts to tackle it.

The deal, agreed by nearly 200 nations, extends to 2020 the Kyoto Protocol.

It is the only legally-binding plan for combating global warming.

The deal covers Europe and Australia, whose share of world greenhouse gas emissions is less than 15%.

Mr Wheelhouse said: "Many will say that not enough was achieved at this year's conference - and I certainly share those frustrations in some areas, but there was some positive progress that lays the foundations for more concerted action in the years to come."

He said Scotland was already more than half-way to achieving its target to cut emissions by 42% by 2020.

He concluded by saying: "Action doesn't all rest with this government and I hope we will continue to have this parliament's support for this vital agenda, both at home, where I recognise we too need to accelerate action, but also in our efforts on climate justice and in moving the international community towards higher ambition."

Labour MSP Claudia Beamish said she could not help but be dissapointed significant signatories like Canada, Japan, the US and China failed to ratify the treaty.

Ms Beamish's motion called on the Scottish government to ensure that sufficient remedial action was taken in the next report on proposals and policies to compensate for missing its first annual emissions reduction targets under the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009.

Speaking first for the Conservatives, Alex Johnstone said Scotland's climate change targets would be difficult to meet without replacing the country's nuclear power stations.

Green MSP Alison Johnstone said: "I do hope we will see a workable, fair and enforceable deal agreed to replace Kyoto - one that actually works this time."

Ms Johnstone added Scotland must continue to show leadership and fund projects overseas.


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