Friday, 29 June 2012

No new coal for Scotland - campaign success

Liz Murray, head of Scottish campaigns from World Development Movement (

Ayrshire Power has just announced that it is shelving its plans for a new coal-fired power station at Hunterton in Ayrshire. This is great news – and reflects the huge amount of opposition that there’s been to the power plant ever since the proposal first came to light three years ago. 

There's been a really strong local campaign for the last three years, as well as opposition from a coalition of environment and development NGOs (including the World Development Movement), and a legal case by Planning Democracy. More than 22,000 objections were made to the planning application – making it apparently the most unpopular planning application in Scottish history and showing the strength of public feeling against it.

WDM has long talked about climate debt and the importance of rich countries, like ours, who are most responsible for climate change cutting our greenhouse gas emissions.  We calculated (1) that, had Hunterston gone ahead and operated from 2015 to 2050, even with 15-25 percent carbon capture and storage, the coal power station could have been responsible for:
  • 100,000 people losing their dry season water supply due to glaciers melting
  • 30,000 to 60,000 more people suffering from drought in Africa
  • 20,000 people being forced out of their homes and becoming climate refugees
  • 50,000 people being at risk of hunger due to drought and lower crop yields
  • 100 to 300 people dying every year due to malnutrition
  • Around 30,000 more people suffering every year due to coastal flooding
  • Up-to 40,000 more people exposed to malaria across the world.
So the success of the efforts of all the campaigners to stop Hunterston will have a global impact as well as a local one.

But to make the decision to shelve Hunterston stick, the Scottish Government must now make sure that coal generating plants are taken out of its National Planning Framework. There’s no place for coal in a low carbon Scotland.

This week also coincidentally marks the third anniversary of Scotland’s climate change act, with its targets of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 42% by 2020 and 80% by 2050.  Ambitious targets – but based on what’s needed to reduce the chances of runaway climate change, rather than just on what was considered politically possible.  And all the more achievable without a coal-fired power plant at Hunterston!

(1) Based on its global contribution to warming of 3-4°C, and climate change impacts predicted by the IPCC and Stern Review.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Scotland at a crossroads on climate action

From Stop Climate Chaos (

World leading targets at risk without increased ambition

Monday 25th June 2012
On the third anniversary of the Scottish Climate Change Act today (Sun) Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) is warning Scotland's progress towards meeting our world leading climate targets is at a crucial crossroads. [1]
Despite the Climate Change Act receiving unanimous backing by MSPs in 2009, there are substantial fears the targets over the next decade will be missed due to a lack of substantive action to cut emission levels. Indeed if the Scottish Government sticks to its current course, it risks only meeting one target between now and 2022. [2]
SCCS is warning the Scottish Government must act quickly to ensure the targets are met and say the revised blue print for achieving them, the Report on Proposals and Policies, must be more ambitious when it is published later this year.
Tom Ballantine, Chair of SCCS, said:
"Three years on from the Scottish Climate Change Act being approved by MSPs the Scottish Government's climate policy is at a crossroads.
"They can choose to stick to their current path and miss the targets, risking our global leadership on this agenda and forfeiting the many benefits Scotland could enjoy, or they can take action now to put us on the right road to a low carbon future.
"Our world leading legislation is still lacking the world leading policies we need.
"The next climate action plan from the Scottish Government must include new measures to reduce emissions from cars and homes. Tackling our poor housing and providing attractive alternatives to the private car would cut climate emission whilst saving families money and improving Scotland's health.
"Scotland can be justifiably proud of our world leading climate targets, but they count for little unless the Scottish Government takes the action needed to deliver on them."
Colin Howden, director of the sustainable transport alliance Transform Scotland, said:
"With emissions from transport still above 1990 levels, the Scottish Government has so far made absolutely no progress.
"Transport is the second largest sector for emissions - and on course to become the largest before too much longer - so the Government needs to get its head out of sand. Without action on transport, the Government cannot meet its climate targets.
"What is worrying is that the current administration's multi-billion pound road-building programme is certain to generate even more emissions.
"We instead need to see the Government bring forward investment for the range of sustainable measures floated, but left unfunded, in the existing climate action plan."
Elizabeth Leighton, Senior Policy Officer at WWF Scotland, said:
"Only a bold approach to retrofitting homes throughout Scotland can tackle the twin scourges of fuel poverty and climate change emissions at the pace and scale required.
"At the same time, improving the energy performance of Scotland's existing homes presents massive opportunities: helping to eradicate fuel poverty and its associated mortality and health problems; stimulating green jobs and boosting the hard-pressed building industry, as well as reducing green house gas emissions.
"With over a million lofts, more than half a million cavity walls, and 600,000 solid wall homes still to be insulated - there is a big job to be done. We need a National Retrofit Programme that will cut emissions and enable all homes to be warm, comfortable and affordable to heat."

Monday, 25 June 2012

Funding for community biodiversity projects

Biffaward Flagship Programme (UK)

Biffaward, which is one of the largest Landfill Communities Fund schemes, has announced that its Flagship programme is now open to applications. Biffawards provides grants to support a range of community and biodiversity project.

Through the Flagship programme grants of between £150,000 and £500,000 are available to support projects that have a regional or national impact. The Flagship Scheme supports Rebuilding Biodiversity and Cultural Facilities. Projects must be site-based, within 25 miles of a Biffa operation and ten miles of an active landfill. The organisation making the application must be eligible to enrol with ENTRUST as an Environmental Body.

Last year, the Flagship Scheme awarded £500,000 over two years to the John Peel Centre for the Creative Arts in Stowmarket, and £499,951 over three years to Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Rebuilding the Bure Valley Living Landscape project. Biffawards usually support 2 to 3 Flagship projects per year.

The deadline for expression of Interest is the 20th August 2012….

Click on the link to check if your project is eligible:

Photo from Biffa Award webpage:

Friday, 22 June 2012

Church of Norway issues statement on Climate Change

The Church of Norway Bishops` Conference gathered at Svalbard, Norway, has issued a statement on climate change:
The Church of Norway Bishops` Conference has visited Svalbard and experienced both the greatness and the vulnerability of nature. The Arctic is a barometer for the world`s climate. The dramatic climate changes are evident. During this journey the broad academic agreement regarding the consumption of fossil fuels has been confirmed as one of the causes of these changes. It is an urgent matter to reduce the world`s total greenhouse gas emissions.
The climate changes affect the poor of the world the hardest. The most vulnerable have the least of responsibility for today`s situation. The fight against the climate changes has to be balanced by the right to a worthy life. The climate crisis and the lack of energy have to be solved as one problem. The industrialized countries have to take responsibility to cut in emissions significantly.
The full statement can be found here:

Friday, 15 June 2012

Ecumenical leaders push for sustainable future of earth at Rio+20

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople and the World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit both have pressed for the future sustainability of earth and stronger commitments for ecological justice at Rio+20. They sent messages to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) Rio+20 which will take place from 20 to 22 June in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The event will assess the developments twenty years after the UN Earth Summit on Environment and Development of 1992.

In his message, Bartholomew I pointed out the challenges world leaders will face in “correcting the degradation of the planet” at Rio+20. He said that the
“delegates must look beyond the surface of problems in order to probe their root causes, which lie in the human heart and mind. A satisfactory conclusion to the Earth Summit requires a penetration into the root causes of ecological afflictions. An easy approach will not solve these problems.”
Signifying the “ecology of heart and mind” in his message, the Ecumenical Patriarch asked the participants to
“perceive the world as having a spiritual as well as a physical dimension”, since the “world is a sacred place as well as our only home. What we are proposing and proclaiming here is not just theological rhetoric. For many people, these issues are now a matter of life and death,”
As government delegates started the 3rd Preparatory Committee Meeting of UNCSD 2012 on 13 June, the WCC general secretary emphasized the significance of their encounter in his message.
“At the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, governments have the opportunity to recommit to past agreements and agree on a roadmap for the sustainable future we want.”
Recalling the challenges issued by past global initiatives for climate justice, and its relation to “green economy”, one of the main themes at Rio+20, Tveit said,
“Our children are asking why we have not been able to achieve more in these twenty years. Justice and peace criteria should permeate the contents of a green economy, which should be based on principles such as sustainability, dignity, equity, sufficiency, inclusion and resilience,”.
Highlighting the theme of his message, he concluded by saying,
“We do have hope. We believe God renews the whole creation through the Spirit so that life prevails.”

Read full message of the Ecumenical Patriarch for Rio+20

RELBONET Ghana now has a web site

RELBONET (Religious Bodies Network on Climate Change) of Ghana now has a web site which can be accessed here:

RELBONET is an interfaith environmental organisation which is interested in establishing Eco-Congregation in Ghana. people who attended our Annual Gathering will have heard RELBONET coordinator Charles Agboklu speak about their work. A copy of his presentation can be found here (PDF file).

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Open Farm Sunday 17th June 2012

Here is a list of all the open farms around the country on 17th June:

From Open Fram Sunday homepage:
LEAF's Open Farm Sunday has grown to become a key part of the farming calendar. It is a truely unique day, bringing the whole industry together.

A day when thousands of people visit farms to see for themselves what farmers do. It is a fantastic opportunity to hear the story behind the food we all enjoy everyday - from breakfast to supper.

Thank you to all the farmers and their helpers for getting involved, and to all the visitors. We hope you have a fabulous day.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Nurture in His Name Videos

We have received the following excellent videos.  Although these are English they are very relevant to the work of Eco-Congregation Scotlad.

The first two films of a series aimed at helping clergy and congregations to understand practical steps that they can take - and the theological reasons why they should - to be good environmental managers of their buildings and land are now available on

Nurture In His Name is the title suggested by the Archbishop of Canterbury who, with the Archbishop of Westminster, introduces the series and both appear in the first two films which look at solar power and biodiversity. Further subjects will be introduced shortly including encouraging children and young people, creating a wildlife areas, environmental training for clergy and case studies.

The series producers Mary Colwell and David Shreeve believe that the series could have discovered a new TV 'star'. 19 years old Polly Benson from Somerset introduces the solar programme and interviews a variety of people including a vicar and an architect about solar panels and questions what happens on a cold winters day. It is hoped to use Polly's talents in more productions currently underway. Others taking part include theologian John Bimson of Trinity College, Bristol, naturalist Chris Sperring, and David Moss a vicar from Bedminster. The films are available on YouTube and will be updated regularly. The producers welcome information from churches undertaking environmental initiatives who would like to share their experiences - good and bad - with others.



Solar Power

Friday, 1 June 2012

Scottish Government's Climate Justice Fund

From the Stop Climate Chaos Scotland coalition:

The new fund aim to help people living in some of the world's poorest countries affected by the changing climate, such as more frequent and severe droughts and floods. It will be a good example to bring to the Rio+20 summit in June of how the rich world can face up to its historic responsibility for climate change and its substantial negative impact on many of the world’s poorest people.

Tom Ballantine, Chair of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, said:
"The Scottish public has consistently shown its support for people around the world who are affected by poverty and climate change. Ahead of last year's Scottish elections many thousands demanded that the next government create a Scottish climate adaptation fund. Their voices have been heard."

Oxfam logoJudith Robertson, Head of Oxfam Scotland, said: "This fund shows Scotland is once again setting an example for other countries to follow in championing and delivering climate justice. Crucially, with one in seven people going to bed hungry every night, it must help the world's 500,000 small scale farmers boost their food production to ensure everyone has enough to eat."

SCIAF logoPhilippa Bonella, SCIAF's Head of Communications and Education, said: "International aid agencies like SCIAF are already working with poor communities devastated by the onset of climate change. This is a global crisis and immediate action is needed. The new Climate Justice Fund is a great start, and an example for other countries to follow."

WDM logoLiz Murray, Head of Scottish Campaigns for WDM said: "Climate change is an issue of justice, with rich countries having caused climate change and poor countries now disproportionately suffering its impacts. It is right that the Scottish Government recognises that it owes a 'climate debt' to the world's poorest people and we hope that the fund will be of a size that meets the scale of the injustice suffered by poor countries."

Concern logoAzra Sheikh, Campaigns and Communications Coordinator, Concern Worldwide, said: "Investment in small scale farming can act as a long term solution to the increasing challenges the world's poorest farmers are facing as a result of climate change."

Christian Aid logoKathy Galloway, Head of Christian Aid Scotland, said: "This fund for climate justice will mean that communities whose livelihoods have been destroyed by flooding, droughts or displacement will be helped to find new ways of providing for their families, whether that be through growing different, climate-resistant crops, or building greater resilience to climate disaster."

Climate adaptation funding means that developed countries should provide funds to developing countries to support increased ability to adapt to the effects of climate change, and is a principle enshrined in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It has been agreed within the Convention to reflect the fact that developed countries have had a greater role historically in causing climate change.
The Scottish fund is a good start, but its starting point at £1m will have to be increased in the coming years to be able to address the scale of the problem.

The Climate Justice Fund complements the commitment Scotland has already made through its climate change legislation. The Scottish Government must now deliver on the promises in the Scottish Climate Change Act and reduce our emissions by 42% by 2020 and 80% by 2050.

Fore more information access the Stop Climate Chaos website on: