Humza Yousaf warns of ‘catastrophic neglect’ of climate amid oil promise

Mr Yousaf gave a speech at New York Climate Week, where he called on governments to accelerate financial support to countries most affected by climate-related loss and damage.

The Scottish Government has led the way on loss and damage, pledging £7 million in climate compensation and helping to put the issue on the agenda at COP27 last year.

The FM said £5 million was awarded to the Climate Justice Resilience Fund, which supports vulnerable communities in the Global South on the frontline of the climate crisis.

He also confirmed that the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF) will receive an additional £300,000 to support communities in Malawi affected by Storm Freddy.

Scotland’s Humanitarian Emergency Fund will also receive an additional £1 million to support communities affected by disaster, disease or conflict.

Last month The Herald exclusively revealed that the additional £5m Nicola Sturgeon pledged at COP27 for losses and damages had not been allocated to any project.

Read more: SNP failed to spend £5m of one of the world’s leading loss and damage funds

But speaking in New York, Mr Yousaf said the entire £7 million had been “fully allocated” and was no longer “in the treasury”.

He added: “We put our money where our mouth is and make sure the people who need it most get it.”

The First Minister also announced that the Climate Justice Resilience Fund – to which the Government has committed £36 million by the end of this Parliament – would provide a program to address the non-economic impacts of climate change, such as gender-based violence and health impacts of Scottish Government funding of £5 million.

Mr. Yousaf said that the leaders of Western nations are “collectively guilty of catastrophic negligence,” adding that “our children have every right to be angry and they have every right, frankly, not to forgive us if we don’t get involved.”

He said: “No single community on earth will be spared from the impacts of climate change, but the suffering is not evenly distributed.”

“This is why our acts of global solidarity as a community are more important now than ever.”

Read more: UK taxing polluters could raise an extra £371m for the Scottish Government

The First Minister stressed that it is “our moral obligation” to ensure the funds get to where they are needed, adding that “pledge is the easy part”.

He added: “Believe me, at a time of tight budgets it is difficult for governments and companies to do this.”

“But funding not only needs to be committed, but also mobilized.

“Pledges alone cannot rebuild communities, pledges alone do not fund flood resilience, pledges alone do not fund a just transition.”

“It is money – not promised, but used – that makes the difference.” It is measures and help on site that make the difference.”

He stressed that “Scotland can play an important role in calling for stronger international action”.

The First Minister called on politicians and leaders to “recommit ourselves to the cause of climate justice”.

He said: “Let us promise not just to offer warm words, but to offer actions.

“I can promise that Scotland will continue to play our part.”

Read more: Revealed: Rishi Sunak’s ‘false’ claim that North Sea oil and gas is cleaner than imports

Mr Yousaf added: “We will move from being the oil and gas capital of Europe to unlocking our renewable potential and becoming the net zero capital of the world.”

“We will show moral leadership and ensure that funding for loss and damage is not only committed but also paid out, and I would urge other nations to join us.

“The existence of our planet and humanity depends on it.”

A leading charity has praised Mr Yousaf’s commitment to the global south but warned this needs to be backed up by more climate action in Scotland.

Lewis Ryder-Jones, policy adviser at Oxfam Scotland, said: “The Scottish Government deserves recognition for the pioneering role it has played in providing dedicated climate justice funding, particularly to support low-income countries and address their loss and damage. “ have confronted.

“More countries need to follow Scotland’s lead by stepping up and providing climate finance.

“However, the Scottish Government’s repeated failure to both meet its own emissions reduction targets and to speak out clearly against new oil and gas deposits risks the First Minister’s international climate efforts leading to someone repeatedly throwing a brick through the window and at the same time offers to pay for the damage.”

“The Scottish Government urgently needs to step up its national climate action, but these actions will be costly. Whoever pays the bill is a test of political courage and will.

“The First Minister must show the same leadership he has shown on climate finance, maximizing the use of devolved taxation powers while pushing the UK Government to use all the levers at its disposal to… “To fairly tax the biggest and richest polluters who did this.” Most of them caused the climate emergency.”

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