SCIAF calls for tougher action on climate change

As climate change wreaks havoc on the world’s poorest people, the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF) has launched a campaign demanding the Scottish Government sets much tougher targets in its new Climate Change Bill.

The charity sees first-hand the devastation erratic weather, more severe frequent storms and droughts are causing people in developing countries.

A new hard-hitting policy report, produced by SCIAF as part of its Climate Change campaign, has been sent to the First Minister and key MSPs highlighting how poverty-stricken families are struggling for survival because of extreme weather and outlining what more needs to be done to save lives and livelihoods.

With less than a month to go before the Climate Change Bill public consultation ends, SCIAF is also urging Scots to back its campaign by sending letters to Nicola Sturgeon calling on her to make sure the new Climate Change Bill commits Scotland to doing its fair share to tackle the growing problem.

More than 8,000 people have already written to the Scottish Government urging it to rethink its climate plans, through campaign group 38 Degrees and Stop Climate Change Chaos coalition of development, environmental and faith groups, including SCIAF.

SCIAF has campaigned for climate justice since 2008, including as part of Stop Climate Chaos coalition, ahead of Scotland’s world-leading Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, which set world-leading greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, including a target to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050.

SCIAF believes that the new Climate Change Bill proposals, which includes changing the 2050 target to a 90% emissions reduction, do not go far enough. Our report calls on the Scottish Government to ramp up its ambitions by increasing its target to zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 at the latest and a reduction of 77% by 2030. It is also urging the government to make sure future finance budgets are in place to support these targets, to outline clear actions to reduce emissions from housing, transport and farming , as well as  explore options to tackle Scotland’s consumption-based emissions.


SCIAF Director Alistair Dutton explained:

“The people we work with in developing countries constantly tell us how life is becoming harder and harder for families as a result of climate change. Small-scale farmers tell us they are struggling to grow food on their land in the way they’ve done for generations because the weather is becoming so unpredictable.

“We know that droughts, floods, hurricanes and typhoons happen more often now and they’re becoming more severe, costing lives, health and livelihoods. It is essential that we take this chance to play our part and really show people around the world that Scotland cares.”

Tragically, many disasters happen in poorer countries where people are least able to cope. The World Health Organisation estimates that climate change will claim 250,000 lives a year from 2030 to 2050 because of malnutrition, heat stress, malaria and diarrhoea. SCIAF sees the devastation climate change causes poor communities around the world and that is why we are compelled to act.

The Catholic Church has shown great leadership on this issue of Climate Change. Pope Benedict XVI told governments that they should implement policies in favour of human development, stability, peace, climate and the environment. More recently, Pope Francis has called on all people of goodwill to be stewards of creation and act to prevent catastrophic climate change.

Alistair added: “We’re appealing to people across Scotland to join us in our campaign to make sure the Scottish Government commits to doing its fair share in the new Climate Change Bill. It is also vitally important that everyone in Scotland takes part in the public consultation.”

To get involved in SCIAF’s campaign go to and register your support. The Climate Change Bill public consultation deadline is 22nd September – time is running out to have your say.