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Christian Aid urges other countries to follow Salmond's lead

Christian Aid welcomed an assurance from First Minister Alex Salmond yesterday that Scotland would not use the carbon markets to reach its emission cuts target of 42 per cent by 2020.

The development agency also welcomed his pledge that what amounts to the most ambitious greenhouse gas reduction target in the world would not be reduced.

Alex SalmondMr Salmond was in Copenhagen attending various side events to the UN’s climate change summit which is taking place in the city.

Asked by members of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) if Scotland would use carbon trading to reach its target, he said: ‘In theory emissions trading could be a good idea but you have to be careful that you don’t allow the developed countries to pay their way out of meeting their own targets

‘Forty two per cent is ours. That’s our target. When we do carbon trading, that would be in addition and I would have to be convinced that the carbon trading system was equitable, fair and balanced.  I’m not absolutely convinced it would be right now. I am not rejecting it, I’m just saying be careful who is writing the rules.’

There would, he added, be no reduction in Scotland’s 42 per cent target. ‘Regardless of what happens here, the target is legally binding,’ he said. ‘We won’t renege.

‘We will get to 42 per cent by 2020. We know how to do it exactly as far as energy production is concerned. We have issues to confront on transport and heating but we know we can do it. We are very confident.’ 

Mr Salmond also voiced his support for the Kyoto Protocol which a number of rich countries want to replace as it doesn’t include emission caps for emerging economies in the developing world.

‘I don’t mind if Kyoto is replaced with something better that is legally binding but it has to be replaced, it can’t just be dumped’ he said. ‘A lot of the people who want to change this are people who haven’t done anything under Kyoto and I don’t think that is acceptable.’

Christian Aid spokesperson Una Bartley said: ‘We welcome these assurances from the first minister. If other industrialised countries followed Scotland’s lead, we would stand a real chance of countering global warming.’

Mithika Murenda, the Kenyan co-ordinator of PACJA, which is active in 43 countries, told Mr Salmond that it was vital the Kyototo Protocol was retained as it committed industrialised countries to legally binding cuts.

‘We see a lot of pressure and manipulation from the industrialised countries,’ he said. ‘This is a very high stakes game.

We feel that the presidency (of the Conference of the Parties) is taking a partisan role when they are supposed to be a neutral umpire. You find them leaning so much towards industrialised countries. It’s not in the interests of the international community.’

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For further information please contact Una Bartley on 0131 240 1524 or 0753 867 6289 / ubartley@christian-aid.org


Notes to Editors:

1. Christian Aid is a member of Countdown to Copenhagen,  a climate justice campaign instigated by APRODEV, an association of 17 major faith-based development and humanitarian aid organisations in Europe, which work closely with the World Council of Churches. The campaign is now active in 24 countries worldwide. APRODEV members and partner organisations along with members of CIDSE, an international network of 16 Catholic development agencies, have collected more than 500,000 pledges from individuals that they will help save the planet. Taking the pledge included a commitment to reduce personal carbon footprints through recycling, reusing and reducing consumption, as well as an undertaking to write to political leaders pressing for a climate change agreement that is fair to poor countries.

2. Christian Aid has photos available of the First Minister, Alex Salmond meeting with members of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance in Copenhagen.

3. Christian Aid, a member of APRODEV, works in some of the world's poorest communities in nearly 50 countries. We act where the need is greatest, regardless of religion, helping people build the life they deserve.

4. Christian Aid wants rich countries at the UN climate change summit in Copenhagen to commit to at least 40 per cent reductions in carbon emissions by 2020.  It also wants industrialised countries to commit to providing more than 110 billion Euros a year to developing countries, along with technology transfers, to enable them to develop in a low carbon way and adapt to climate change.

5. Christian Aid is a member of the Stop Climate Chaos Scotland.

6. Climate change is already depriving poor people in many developing countries of their livelihoods.  Christian Aid believes that it must urgently be tackled, in order to help achieve a world free of poverty.  Our new drive, Poverty Over, explains what we believe needs to be done – and can be done – to end global poverty.  Details at www.christianaid.org.uk

7. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_