Facing a crippling trade deficit and massive government debt and deficit, the Scots is imploring the United Kingdom (UK) to impose carbon emission levies in order to shoulder some of the burden of tackling climate change.
Scotland Yard detective sergeant Ruth von Köubeot has been an environmental campaigner for years, but it was her concern for the safety of her family during the heat wave in Glasgow in August, that set her thinking, she told Dailymail.com.
Köubeot says her family is terrified of climate change. Her son was a pupil at Perth’s Central Primary School when it shut down during the peak of a heat wave in August, and she feared for his health and safety. “When we lived in North London in the 80s, we lived a few streets from my then-husband’s mum and dad who lived very near to the Museum of Childhood in Soho, London,” she told DailyMail.com. “Of course, in those days we had our natural air conditioning vents — the windows were fully open to let in the fresh breezes. Then in 1991, for a couple of weeks, London experienced its first heatwave in over 60 years.” She says she was worried for her son’s wellbeing and, more importantly, for her own: “It was a hot period on Saturday, and on Monday I felt acutely ill and was taken to the hospital. I had a temperature of 32.3 degrees.”
When the heatwave returned, her concerns were not unfounded. In mid-August, her son was in Scotland for a cricket trip to Scotland during the heatwave.
“My son is a keen cricketer, and when I was away he told me we had to carry fans for the field during the matches,” she said. “He said, ‘If we don’t do this, then we won’t be able to go home.’ I felt incredibly worried for him.”
It was not an isolated incident in the heatwave. August 8, records show there were 110 temperature-related deaths in Scotland. All of these deaths were recorded by the Scottish Ambulance Service.
“My colleagues at the regional Air Ambulance were also not left out. They were working 12-hour shifts to respond to a record number of 999 calls,” she said. “One of the most alarming things was the number of cardiac arrests. There were 22 of them during the heatwave alone.”
In September there was a second heatwave, this time lasting a week longer and lasting longer in Scotland.
“As a result of this and the previous heatwave in August, 14 Scottish councils are now planning to spend at least £80 million to try and keep people out of the heat.”
She said it was time for the UK and Scottish governments to take decisive action to prevent further risk. “It’s not only about funding — it’s about resourcing.” “It’s time for us to take some action to protect ourselves from the excessive summer heat, the increased risk of allergies and potential health risks from air quality.”
As Britain is one of the largest carbon emitters in the world, Scotland contributes to the problem. The UK government is set to introduce a carbon tax on April 1, 2020 to assist the UK in tackling climate change. The Scottish government say the levy will add £8 to a driver’s annual fuel bill. The UK government currently exempts Scotland from paying an increase to this levy.
“This is very unfair, as the UK already has an air pollution tax of £140 per tonne of CO2 emitted,” she said. “The additional pollution tax is not only unfair, but it will cause a sharp increase in fuel prices for Scottish families.”
She believes action is necessary, to ensure the wellbeing of those most affected by climate change. “The economic benefits of tackling climate change far outweigh the financial hardship. The sum of money spent on climate change is infinitely greater than the cost in terms of lost carbon budgets and therefore lost life,” she added.
Said von Köubeot: “The emissions tax will only speed up our recent pattern of polluting more and more at the expense of other people’s lives. We can make sure we reduce greenhouse gases if we demand more responsibility from companies and government.”
Treating the symptoms of the symptoms is proving to be more effective than treating the problems that cause them.