Pre-COP protest draws crowds in Aberdeen
A demonstration saw Aberdeen community groups come together in support of green transition
By Darius Jedburgh
Courtesy of Anttoni James Numminen
Saturday 24 October - Around 100 people including community activists, students, MSPs and residents gathered outside Marischal College in Aberdeen city centre to oppose climate change and promote a “just, green transition”.
The event was held in advance of the international COP26 Climate Change Conference, which will see world leaders and over 30,000 delegates descend upon Glasgow in what campaigners hope will be a decisive moment in the fight against climate change.
Alison Stuart of Aberdeen Climate Action was one of the first speakers at the rally, talking about the importance of “working together” to tackle climate change.
“All sectors, all parts of society, all parts of our world, we all need to work together, and we can. We need the government to listen to us for them to realise we’re ready for change, we want change, and we demand change.”
Stuart also added that transition was needed not only in the energy sector but in “all parts of our lives. Here in the North East, it’s massively important that we have a green engineering transition and we have a diversified green economy and community.”
Representatives of the SNP, Scottish Greens, Liberal Democrats and Scottish Labour parties also spoke at the event.
The SNP’s Kirsty Blackman MP told those gathered that it is “absolutely, without question, imperative that we make change”.
Blackman, MP for Aberdeen North, emphasised the need to increase awareness regarding climate change as well as the need for decision-makers to consider the environment: “We need to make sure they know that we will vote for people who make the right decisions on climate, we will not vote for people who are willing to continue with polluting our atmosphere and ruining our planet.”
However, the Scottish government, headed by the SNP, has recently been criticised for missing “its targets on reducing climate emissions in five of the seven sectors set out in its 2018 plan to tackle climate change”, according to The Herald.
Mercedes Villalba, Scottish Labour MSP for the North East, spoke about ensuring workers’ rights across sectors and highlighting their importance in securing a just transition.
“In Parliament, I’m committed to fighting for a worker-led Green New Deal which puts jobs, public ownership and international solidarity at its heart. We can create new, green jobs with decent pay and conditions by investing in public schemes to insulate homes, conserve our land, build our future.”
“A future that must be fossil-free. A future that simply cannot include Cambo!”
Maggie Chapman MSP, the former rector of the University of Aberdeen, represented the Scottish Green Party at the demonstration. Chapman said:
“We need to take every opportunity in the next two to three weeks to get our message of justice through. Not only to those attending COP26 in Glasgow but to people all over the world, standing in solidarity with those who have borne the brunt of climate already, particularly in the Global South.”
The COP26 or Conference of Parties summit will take place between 31 October – 12 November, and The Gaudie will also be sending reporters to cover the event.