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the big shift

Doing my bit for climate change

Published on 3 June 2019

I’ve been campaigns officer for Christian Aid in Scotland for longer than I care to remember, working on issues such as trade and tax. More recently I have been working on climate change.

- By Diane Green, Campaigns Officer, Christian Aid Scotland  .

Currently, IPCC experts advise that we need to reach zero carbon emissions by 2050. But what does that actually mean? Is it like something out of an Ali Smith novel: is life as I know it dead? Time to get rid of the Greek holiday; the daily takeaway latte; burgers; the 60oC setting on the washing machine; new clothes; fashionable clothes; fizzy water in plastic bottles – anything in plastic bottles – anything plastic! How will I function?

Guidance from people in the know – like SCCS and Christian Aid – suggests that zero carbon emissions by 2050 doesn’t really mean that the life I know and love is dead. It means a different life, a smarter life. It means a life where the amount of carbon going into the atmosphere equals the amount being taken back out of the atmosphere. If globally we are able to commit to this, and be clever about it, then maybe all will be well, for our children and our children’s children. 

So, note to self: do my bit. Recycle more. Give up dairy and go more veggie. Plan for my next car to be electric. Think about insulating my home better. Take the train rather than the plane. Buy less stuff. Write to HSBC.

What’s that? Write to HSBC? Why would I write to HSBC?
HSBC supported the Paris Agreement and pledged to invest $100 billion in tackling climate change. They said that they will cease lending to coal projects in most countries. All of that is great news but, like me, they could do better.

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Christian Aid Sotland and Eco Congregation supporters from Queensferry Parish Church: HSBC Edinburgh, Princess Street

Christian Aid is calling on HSBC to reconsider their investment in new coal power in Bangladesh, Indonesia and Vietnam. Coal-fired electricity is unlikely to reach poor and isolated communities in these countries, whose needs would be better served by renewable energy.

Christian Aid also wants HSBC to invest in renewable energy rather than in fossil fuels. This would prove that HSBC is serious about keeping the rise in global temperature well below two degrees. A timebound plan for phasing out its financing of all fossil fuels would also be good. You can find out more about Christian Aid’s campaign to HSBC here

Christian Aid supporters on their way to deliver their letters and card to HSBC Glasgow, Buchanan Street.

HSBC campaign

This Lent, I and some Christian Aid supporters, did write to HSBC. And then we took a big deep breath and hand delivered our letters to branches in Stirling, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness and Dumfries. In each branch, we asked the manager to forward our letters on to the CEO.

I know it’s important to make changes to my lifestyle but it is also important to speak up to the influencers, leaders and organisations whose big changes will make a huge difference to the planet. The Scottish Government, pushed by campaigners and IPCC experts, has finally agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2045. That’s because people like you and me are asking decision-makers to up their game – and they are starting to listen.

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