Dr Thomas Muinzer, of Aberdeen University’s Centre for Energy Law, details the work of Scottish Climate Emergency Legal Network (SCELN) and its Seventh Gas Campaign. The aim is to make the UK Government add nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) to the list of six greenhouse gases covered by the Climate Change Act 2008.
In our first year of operation, ERCS has been reaching out to groups across Scotland who share our values and objectives. One of our first collaborations has been with SCELN.
SCELN is a network of lawyers, academics and activists who recognise the need for legal action to enforce urgent measures in Scotland to slow down climate change and set an example for other developed nations. The network places a particular emphasis on the methods and tools provided by law and the legal system for such purposes.
The network’s first public action – the Seventh Gas Campaign – is a challenge to the UK Government’s climate change legislation.
Like the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, the UK Climate Change Act 2008 sets targets for reducing emissions of six defined greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change, including carbon dioxide (CO2).
In 2015, Scotland added a seventh gas, nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), to the existing list of six because, although produced in much smaller quantities, it has many thousands of times the global warming potential of CO2, and its use– primarily in the electronics industry – is growing. This step means that, in Scotland, emissions of NF3 need to be monitored, controlled and reduced along with those of the other six. Wales, which also has devolved responsibility for the environment, took the same step in 2016. Across the rest of the UK, however, only the six original gases are covered.
Further detail is contained in a letter to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and accompanying scientific and legal briefings.
If you would like to find out more about SCELN and its work, contact Dr Ben Christman.