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Uist is one of the areas across the globe threatened by the impact of climate change, MSPs were reminded yesterday (Wednesday October 27)

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan highlighted the impact of rising sea-levels on areas such as Uist and called for the voices of indigenous and island communities around the world to play a greater role in discussions around climate change. 

The islands MSP was contributing to a debate in the Scottish Parliament on Global Ambitions for COP26, which will begin in Glasgow next week. The event is set to be set to be the largest political summit the UK has ever hosted.

COP26 is the most important gathering on climate change since the Paris COP in 2015, with the talks widely considered to be the last opportunity to deliver on commitments to keep global temperature rise to within 1.5 – 2°C. COP26 also offers a crucial opportunity to address how a just, resilient and green recovery from Covid-19 is delivered.

Alasdair Allan said: “In the past decade, global sea levels rose by 3cm, but the situation is predicted to get worse. The most recent UN report on climate change, which was published in August 2021, warned that we could see the ocean ascend by nearly 1m or more by the end of the century. Such outcomes threaten many societies existentially.

“Scotland will not be immune. Among the places that will be particularly vulnerable are low-lying areas with soft coasts of machair, including Uist, Islay and Tiree, as well as Sanday in Orkney.

“The climate crisis will also undermine intangible cultural heritage—many of the things that make it worth being human—so it is important that the debates on climate change take notice of indigenous voices in addition to science and that they reflect on the cumulative experience and knowledge of such societies, whether they be in Greenland, Tuvalu or Uist.

“We should be in no doubt that rising sea levels represent a threat to the life of island communities across the world - as well as to everything else.”