The First Minister told delegates it is impossible to tackle the climate crisis without recognising the need for climate justice, and used the occasion to launch a Big Climate Conversation across Scotland.

She said: “I think the Centre for Climate Justice is world-leading. It is putting front and centre the issue of justice and how we tackle climate change, and it is doing it from here in Glasgow.

“I think that is hugely important for the whole country, not just the university, so I want to pay tribute to everybody who works in and for the Centre and has put this conference together because they are performing an important role for the entirety of the planet.”

Speaking to an audience drawn to the campus from 35 countries, including the United States, China, India and several African nations, the First Minister outlined the Scottish Government’s commitment to making the transition from a carbon economy in a fair and just way.

She highlighted Scotland’s tough targets to achieve net zero emissions by 2045, and the appointment of a Just Transition Commission to deliver the change in a way which brings benefits for all.

She said: “We need to start with the recognition this needs effort and it needs to be deliberate. There are huge costs attached and governments and businesses need to share the burden. We need to create benefits for communities and leave no one behind.

“This summer I want to engage people in our Big Climate Conversation so we don’t get overwhelmed by the scale of the problem and we can see the opportunities as well as the challenges.”

She said those who have done the least to contribute to climate change often bear the biggest burden and it is important the richest countries lead the way in tackling it with fairness at the heart of their approach.

She described how Scotland created the world’s first Climate Justice Fund in 2012 to support projects in Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia.

She admitted the contribution was small given the scale of the challenge, but the fund has already provided access to clean water and renewable energy for tens of thousands of people.

She said: “We are helping to empower communities in adapting to the crisis. And we are sending a signal to other countries around the world that climate justice matters.”



Glasgow Caledonian University