The First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, used the TED talk she delivered behind closed doors at the invitation only TED Countdown Summit at the EICC, to call for immediate, ambitious action from smaller countries.
Ms Sturgeon said this is a necessary part of the international response to the climate emergency as the COP26 conference in Glasgow approaches on 31 October.
She pointed to Scotland’s role as a powerhouse of the industrial revolution and more recent technological feats – including the world’s largest floating windfarm, off Aberdeen, and the world’s most powerful wave power turbine, being tested in the Pentland Firth – as a demonstration of how smaller countries can provide climate leadership.
During the speech, she also highlighted Scotland’s world-leading emissions reduction legislation and emphasised the need to ensure a just transition that helps prevent countries who may not have the means to respond or adapt being hit hardest by its effects.
Ms Sturgeon said: “Scotland, this small country, has decarbonised faster than any G20 country. We have just become the first nation in the world that is not an independent nation to publish an indicative nationally defined contribution – showing how we will meet the objectives of the Paris agreement, and we pledge to cut emissions by three quarters by 2030, and to be net zero by 2045.
“It is often states and regions and small nations that can step in when the bigger countries fail to act – and if we raise our ambition, and if we follow that through with action, then we can spur the bigger countries to go further – and faster, too.
“It’s not enough to cut our own emissions, although that is vital. We have to make sure that we are helping those who have done the least to cause climate change to do so too, and with the spirit of justice and fairness absolutely at the heart of that. Countries of all shapes and sizes must step up to this challenge.”
Commenting on the First Minister’s comments on the Cambo oilfield during her Ted Talk, Scottish Labour’s Net Zero and Energy Transport spokesperson Monica Lennon said: “Nicola Sturgeon appears to have taken on a new role as Boris Johnson’s spin doctor.
“The UK Government tried to hide behind process and officials, until a legal challenge by campaigners made it clear that the buck stops with Tory ministers.
“Nicola Sturgeon needs to get off the fence and shout from the rooftops about the damage Cambo would do.
“COP26 is around the corner, and time is running out to persuade Boris Johnson to do the right thing.
“It is utterly shameless for the First Minister to pay lipservice to a just transition for workers when her own government has barely lifted a finger to make it a reality.
“It is essential that communities are not left behind in the journey to net zero – but more dithering from the SNP won’t do a thing to help them.
“Only Labour are serious about delivering a jobs-first transition that will give us the modern energy system we need and meet the demands of the climate emergency.”
As the CEO of Shell spoke at today’s conference, protesters were outside the EICC making their views known.