Activists from Extinction Rebellion conduct protest at Scottish Parliament

A group of approximately 40 members of Extinction Rebellion held a peaceful protest, within Scottish Parliament yesterday. The climate activists were aiming to draw attention to climate change concerns and the need for the Scottish government to implement more stringent targets to address this issue.

The protesters accessed the chamber by posing as tourists and then refused to leave Holyrood for an hour. Eventually leaving when asked by police and were then escorted out of Parliament.

Extinction Rebellion describe themselves as wanting to “work to transform our society into one that is compassionate, inclusive, sustainable, equitable and connected”, which they aim to achieve via a citizens uprising across the UK. Their demands include reaching net zero emissions in the UK by 2025, through legally-binding policies, and for a citizens’ assembly to be formed.

The Scottish government has recently introduced a new Climate Change Bill, which they describe as making the “targets even more ambitious”. In this bill, their aim is to reduce emissions by 56% by 2020 and 90% by 2050- well away from the demands of Extinction Rebellion.

A report, by climate scientists at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, stated that at Scotland’s current carbon dioxide levels they would exceed their two degrees Celsius  Paris Agreement in under 10 years. If Scotland wanted to achieve its commitment, they would need to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions by at least 10% each year.

A member of Extinction Rebellion when asked about the protest stated that “while [Scotland] is relatively progressive compared to other countries it comes nowhere near what is necessary to really address the gravity of the climate emergency.”