The Scottish Parliament's think-tank

The Role of Parliaments in the Climate and Ecological Emergencies

Graffiti reading "No planet B #COP26"

Thursday 4 November 2021, at the Lighthouse in Glasgow

The impact of the climate and ecological crises are already with us, and the science is clear that we must act now to avoid more severe consequences and to adapt to those changes already in the system.

While Governments can commit to targets, actions and spending, Parliaments are mandated by the people of a country to hold them to account on those commitments, to approve budgets and to make the law.  

What could and should Parliaments do to respond the Climate and Ecological Emergencies?


Introduction

This event brought together parliamentarians, advisers, climate justice advocates and academics to explore how Parliaments must evolve to deliver their functions in the context of a Code Red for humanity.

Four expert speakers from different perspectives shared their thoughts on the key questions facing Parliaments.

  • How can Parliaments and their processes be set up to ensure we are all on track for 2030 commitments?
  • What expert advice do Parliaments need in such emergencies, and how should they access it?
  • And what will Parliaments need to look like in 2030 to ensure we hit the Net Zero commitments in the 2040s?  

Event film


Event report

A full event report will appear online in due course. In the meantime, our colleagues from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre produced a blog outlining the key issues raised.


Event illustration

We were delighted to be joined by illustrator Katie Chappell, who produced this illustration during the debate.

This illustration was drawn live by Katie Chappell (@KatieDraws)

Chair

Malini Mehra has been CEO of GLOBE International, a cross-party network of parliamentarians dedicated to improving governance for sustainable development, since November 2014.

An award-winning civil society leader with three decades of experience in sustainability, climate change and human rights fields, she founded an award-winning Indian NGO working on corporate responsibility and climate change, and led international campaigns for Oxfam and Friends of the Earth International. 

An Indian citizen, Malini, a political scientist and gender specialist, by training, has lived and worked across the world. She is now based in her adopted home of London with her husband and three children. Since 2017, Malini has served as a Commissioner on Sustainable Development to the Mayor of London.


Panellists

Dean Lockhart MSP is the Convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Net Zero, Energy and Transport Committee.  He was first elected to the Scottish Parliament in May 2016, and re-elected in May 2021, as an MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife.

Dean is also the Convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Cross-Party Groups on the USA, China and Japan.

Before being elected to the Scottish Parliament, Dean was an international lawyer and business adviser for 20 years, with experience across Hong Kong, Tokyo and Singapore. Dean also served as First Secretary (Commercial) at the British Embassy in Asia.

Hon. Charity Kathambi MP is member of the Kenyan Parliament’s Departmental Committee on Environment and Natural Resources and chair of the Parliamentary Network on Renewable Energy and Climate Change in Kenya.

Charity was elected to the Kenyan National Assembly in 2017 as the first female representative of the Njoro constituency. She also serves as vice secretary of the Kenya Women Parliamentary Association.

Prior to her election, Charity worked as a Clerk at Signon Freight Ltd, a sales representative at Consolidated Bank and board member of Kenya Literature Bureau under the Ministry of Education.

Professor Tahseen Jafry leads the pioneering Centre for Climate Justice at Glasgow Caledonian University. Her research interests include the justice and equity aspects of climate change, gender and poverty targeting, the management of natural resources, the geo-political nature of climate justice and the psycho-social impacts of climate change.

Tahseen is a qualified engineer and social scientist with over two decades of research and development experience. She lectures in environmental management, sustainability and climate justice and supervises Masters and doctoral theses.

Tahseen’s research projects include the gendered management of natural resources, climate induced migration and vulnerability, adaptation to climate change and food security.

Jenny Hill is Head of International and Buildings at the United Kingdom Climate Change Committee. As part of this, she has been leading the Committee’s international work programme in the run-up to COP26.

A consultant by background, working across environmental policy and urban regeneration, Jenny has over 10 years’ experience developing policy advice on decarbonisation. She has advised UK central and local Government, the European Commission and countries around the world.

Her focus is on Net Zero strategy and fair and transparent policy delivery, working with policymakers, business, parliamentarians, the third sector and through participative democracy initiatives such as the UK Climate Assembly.


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