First Minister meets climate change school strikers

Nicola Sturgeon has met with youngsters who took part in school strikes to demand action on climate change.

The First Minister, who previously tweeted in support of the action, spoke to some of the campaigners involved, environment minister Mairi Gougeon confirmed.

The talks between the FM and the students focused on concerns over the environment and what action the Scottish Government is taking, the minister added.

Speaking about the young protesters, Ms Gougeon said: “It is only right they push us to take strong action and we take the time to listen to that.”

She told MSPs: “The First Minister met with some of the students to discuss their concerns and to discuss the actions we are taking.”

She added that the climate change was “such an important issue” she was “not surprised the pressure for action we’ve seen, particularly recently and particularly from our young people”.

Ms Gougeon spoke after Green MSP Alison Johnstone praised the young Scots who had been involved in the climate change protests.

The most recent day of action saw events take place in 19 towns and cities across Scotland, from Peebles to Ullapool.

Ms Johnstone said: “We estimate that some 5,000 young people attended the protests in Glasgow and Edinburgh alone.

“They were acting in sync with school strikers in over 100 other countries, one of the largest youth movements we have seen in recent times.”

Green MSPs had joined the protesters and “listened to their concerns,” she added.

Green MSP Alison Johnstone with party co-convener Patrick Harvie (Jane Barlow/PA)

Ms Johnstone said: “I fully support the strikers’ aims and stand in solidarity with them. It is unacceptable that our young people should have to sacrifice their school days to urge that the adults in charge do the right thing for the people on the planet.

“It has been the inaction of governments over the past 20 years that has brought them to this point and we can’t let it continue.”

Ms Gougeon insisted the Scottish Government “absolutely recognises the urgency of the global climate challenge”.

Legislation currently being considered by Holyrood would see “Scotland have the toughest climate change legislation of anywhere in the world”, the minister added.

She stated: “The Bill contains the most ambitious statutory target of any country in the world for 2020, 2030, and 2040, and will mean Scotland is carbon neutral by 2050.”

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