Speaking at a packed public rally in the Scottish capital on Tuesday, Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon told delegates that Britain “had failed to deliver for Scotland” on climate change and asked why they “should trust those they sent down to Brussels, who don’t seem to have the interests of Scotland at heart”.
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Sturgeon’s remarks may have been meant to embarrass Westminster. However, an article by a Scottish environment minister earlier this month offered a much darker picture of the UK’s relationship with Scotland and suggested a breakdown in the relationship was now on the way.
As the FTreported, sources close to Scottish environment minister Roseanna Cunningham told the paper “there is a coming unravelling of the SNP government’s relationship with the UK government on the issue of climate change”.
The so-called G-Partnership, a form of partnership agreement on climate change between the UK and Scottish governments, was established by the UK and Scottish governments with Canadian government approval in 2007.
Under the agreement, Canada signed a “joint climate change strategy” that committed Canada to a 175g per capita carbon emissions goal by 2050 and 1.5°C of warming by 2100.
However, under the guiding principles of the G-Partnership, Canada – a major fossil fuel exporter – was given the option of excluding itself from the climate change agreement.
The underlying guidelines of the G-Partnership also call for “general common purpose” to be a guiding principle of both sides on climate change, which means that neither side can create policies or statements that could be interpreted as favouring one of their own industries or products.
In December 2018, the UK prime minister Theresa May signed up to the international Paris agreement on climate change on behalf of the UK, in spite of the fact that ministers within her government had been strongly opposed to the landmark agreement, for which the UK ratified in June 2016.
There are fears that the First Minister’s comments could have a contagion effect on the UK and that an independent Scotland may, in their place, ditch the G-Partnership.