Code Red- The Role of Parliaments in the Climate and Ecological Emergencies

04 November 2021 - 04 November 2021
Online Event
Climate Ambition Zone at the Lighthouse
The city of Edinburgh skyline with a women wearing a red jacket in the foreground.

In the context of a Code Red for humanity, Parliaments and parliamentarians make the law, scrutinise policy, approve budgets and hold governments to account - functions ever more important in a time of climate and ecological crisis This session will unpack what legislatures must look like to drive solutions, and how they can access the expertise they need.

This event brings together parliamentarians, advisors, climate justice advocates and academics to unpack how parliaments must evolve to deliver their functions in the context of a Code Red for humanity.

Since the 2009 COP15 in Copenhagen there has been a growing understanding of the critical role that legislatures have to play in tackling the climate and ecological crises. Whilst Governments can commit to targets, actions and spend, their Parliaments are mandated by the people of a country to hold them to account on such commitments, and to make the law. As fora for national debate, Parliaments are uniquely well placed to deliver against Article 12 of the Paris Agreement, “to enhance climate change education, training, public awareness, public participation and public access to information”.

Whilst criticism can be made of Governments – policies they choose, how those policies are designed, whether budget aligns to priorities, and so on – equally there are challenges for Parliaments in how they can effectively scrutinise what are complex and deep-rooted issues. This is where access to the right analysis and expertise comes to the fore with organisations such as the UK Climate Change Committee becoming ever more important in delivering advice direct to Governments - but also in how that advice is used to facilitate and structure parliamentary scrutiny.

Parliaments have a wider role in ensuring Governments deliver on commitments made towards delivering the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – only by Parliaments doing so can it be ensured that action on climate change and the ecological crisis is fair, equitable and just. This event links to all of the UK Presidency themes – as it is about scrutiny of critical, complex and interlinked issues. It relates also to SDG 16 on Peace, Justice and Strong institutions, and to SDG 17 on Partnership for the Goals.

This event will be streamed live from the Scotland Climate Ambition Zone and available for you to watch.