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5 Leaders, 5 Keys


5 XR activists have locked themselves by the neck to the Scottish Parliament. The keys have been delivered to party leaders with a note.

Five Extinction Rebellion Scotland activists have locked themselves by the neck to the front of the Scottish Parliament building to demand that the upcoming Scottish Climate Bill responds to the current climate and ecological emergency. The keys to the locks have been delivered to the five leaders of the main political parties within Scotland along with a note.

Each note states that “this target is nowhere near ambitious enough to minimise the risk of catastrophic climate change of 2.c or more. It doesn’t do enough to mitigate the rapidly unfolding climate and ecological crises”. The note also states that the leaders “hold the key to our future” and are a symbol that only political parties can free us from a future mired by ecological and climate breakdown. The notes request the leaders come and unlock the rebels and engage in a productive dialogue on the Climate Bill with them.

Here is the text:

Dear _____________ MSP,

This letter has arrived with a key, the key to our future. Please keep it: you will need to use it very soon.

As you know, this month the Scottish Parliament is considering amendments to the Climate Bill. At present this bill sets a target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045. Unfortunately, climate scientists have warned us that this target is nowhere near ambitious enough to minimize the risk of catastrophic climate change of 2°C or more. It doesn’t do enough to mitigate the rapidly unfolding climate and ecological crises.

According to the IPCC, the whole world—including many countries whose historical emissions and  capacity to respond to the crisis are far less than those of Scotland—needs to make radical cuts in emissions by 2030 in order to stand even a chance of keeping global warming to 1.5°C. In order to do this, we believe that Scotland needs to show real leadership by establishing a much more ambitious target of net zero emissions by 2025. It’s not about what’s feasible under the current system of business-as-usual: it’s about what’s necessary to deal with this existential threat to humanity. A target of 2045 is tantamount to accepting ecocide.

About Extinction Rebellion Scotland
Extinction Rebellion Scotland is a non-violent direct-action movement formed in response to the climate emergency, allied with the global climate justice movement.

Our demands, issued as a Declaration of Rebellion to the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government on 24th November 2018 are as follows;

  1. That the Scottish Government tell the truth about the climate and wider ecological emergency, acknowledge and reverse any policies that help drive the climate crisis, and commit to enabling a rapid and just transition to a sustainable and fair society.
  2. That the Scottish Government enact legally binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025, including by replacing a system based on accelerating consumption with one based on ensuring the wellbeing of all.
  3. The creation of a Scottish Citizens’ Assembly to oversee the changes, as part of creating a democracy fit for purpose and a society that cares for all.

The innovative peaceful protest leaves the key, literally in the politicians hands.

Comments (7)

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  1. Mark Bevis says:

    Good luck with this. Sending the keys to the politicians is an interesting move, but no doubt their security advisors will say hand the keys over to the police. Do any of the recepients of the keys have the balls to resist that pressure and go and unlock the activists themselves?

    By the way, when we use a 1750 baseline, and not the current 1880 and 1979-2000 baselines the IPCC use, we’ve already passed 1.5*C warming….

  2. Dougie Blackwood says:

    In this last day or two I’ve been wondering about what might be done to speed the reduction of fossil fuel usage. I’ve got solar panels on my roof and, as I got them a fairly long time ago, they are just now recovering what I paid for them. Since I got them the cost of installation has come down dramatically but the Westminster government has removed the feed in tariff that was the incentive and the sales and installation teams have crashed out of business.

    Should we insist that all new build houses have solar production installed as part of the planning process and should we reintroduce subsidies and or grants to retrofit them to houses without them? Link these panels to the most efficient battery technology and LED lighting and while it would not resolve all of our needs it would make a big difference.

    Next it would be onward to air or ground source heating to be used to supplement or replace our existing central heating. There are technologies out there where one can augment the other to reduce the use of gas to a minimum even in an older house without ripping out and starting again. Unfortunately, at present, those that will install them want to maximise their turnover by replacing your boiler as well although I’m sure this is not always strictly necessary.

    Come on Holyrood. Not everything the Greens say is impractical.

    1. Nick Kempe says:

      I have had solar panels too for some time and while they produce lots of electricity over summer, the produce almost nothing in the middle of winter when our need for electricity is greatest. The case however for requiring all new housing to incorporate panels as a matter of course is a no brainer and would have kept the industry going. But the best means of doing this is not through the planning system but through changing building standards which should also be used to ensure that all new buildings are built to passivhaus standards, i.e minimum energy consumption. The housing industry will protest but this could be done immediately – through the climate change bill – and higher building costs rapidly recouped by householders through far lower fuel bills. How to retrofit existing buildings to achieve passivhaus standards is a far more complex question which probably needs a commission of enquiry and then a ten year programme of state action but again there is no reason that should not be kicked off now. Its likely that we would be far better using state subsidies to bring down energy consumption through insulation programmes etc than spending it subsidising solar panels

      1. Dougie Blackwood says:

        Of course we need a full range of different strategies to get away from using carbon.

        Solar panels are now a relatively cheap option that can be done without breaking the bank. You’re right about low production in the winter but for 9 months of the year they make significant amounts of electricity. When production there is down we normally expect to make more wind energy and if more were solar were fitted they would make a significant contribution to the mix.

        I said about air and ground source heating. Add to this the significant resource of warm water in our old mine workings that are everywhere; there is a project under way to install district heating from the river Clyde being undertaken in Clydebank.

        Other things are practical but are not all being pushed as they should.
        a. We have hardly scratched the surface of tidal power which is reliable and predictable; that is an expensive option but one we should be encouraging rather than watching from the side-lines.
        b. Energy storage is something we talk about but little is done. Batteries sound good but may be unable to run in the long term without frequent replacement. Our hydro installations should mostly be upgraded to pumped storage. Are our old oilfields suitable for pressurised air storage to drive turbines? When we are creating too much energy when the wing blows we presently turn wind farms off; why not use the spare energy to make Hydrogen as a fuel for slack days or to run vehicles.

        Yes Solar is something that is simple to do while we get on with the other more difficult options.

  3. Andy Anderson says:

    I agree that we are confronted by an extreme problem which can destroy the environment for our children and grandchildren. Therefore extreme action is needed to meet this threat. I am 80 years old but I strongly support this approach by the Extinction Rebellion group.

  4. Jean de McKluskey says:

    Go on the five! We support you. Great slogans, each one of them. Wouldn’t want to single any out, but I’m v. glad “Just Transition for Workers” is among them. Young XR protestors used the same locking themselves to a govt. building action form a week ago in Leipzig – think it’s great how they learn from each other. Important messages from the others on the thread about using existing technology to move towards lower carbon housing. Generally I think there’s still too much focus on the (vastly important) subject of carbon + methane emmissions reduction; and not NEARLY enough on natural carbon capture. Jem Bendell’s Deep Adaption, often mentioned on these pages, writes in detail on this latter subject: restoring seagrass meadows and farming seaweed, converting much more of the earth’s surface to “management-intensive rotational grazing” practices (MIRG):
    ” A 2014 study measured annual perhectare increases in soil carbon at 8 tons per year on farms converted to these practices ”
    and much more: http://www.lifeworth.com/deepadaptation.pdf
    For the obviously technologically minded like Dougie Blackwood and Nick Kempe, these transforming landuse techologies could have a larger impact, per person actively involved, than the per-household carbon “saved” with the move to lower carbon housing.
    The disturbing truth is that the 400 parts per million of carbon that are already in our air will not reduce — even in the middle term, and even with a massive reduction in emmissions — unless they are coupled with huge state and person intervention on natural carbon capture.
    It is bizarre that even the lengthy Wikipedia entry for “Carbon capture and storage /sequestration” does not even MENTION the seagrass meadows / farming seaweed / MIRG, but focuses instead on geological sequestration.
    XR in the UK argues that these type of carbon capture technologies are not yet available at anything near the scale needed to tackle the problem.

  5. Justin Kenrick says:

    Note that the 3rd demand is for

    “The creation of a CLIMATE Citizens’ Assembly FOR SCOTLAND to oversee the changes, as part of creating a democracy fit for purpose and a society that cares for all.”

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