THOUSANDS of Scots have joined a campaign urging Holyrood to phase out fossil fuels in favour of renewables.

Almost 6000 people are backing the Powering our Common Home campaign by international aid charity SCIAF.

Launched earlier this year, the drive sees supporters complete cards demanding a clear plan to phase fossil fuels from Scotland’s energy mix to protect developing countries from the devastating effects of climate change.

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The man-made problem is credited with causing a spike in chronic kidney disease cases in El Salvador, with up to one quarter of people in just one region thought to have the condition.

Kidney failure is now the leading cause of hospital deaths in the country’s adults and many cases are not linked to underling hypertension or diabetes. Most sufferers are outdoor labourers from hot regions and researchers believe the new form of the disease is linked to solar radiation.

Dr Ricardo Navarro, Director of CESTA, a SCIAF-supported charity in the country, said: “In El Salvador, climate change is already killing people. Richer countries like Scotland need to cut their greenhouse gas emissions drastically.”

The Scottish Government has already committed to securing half of the country’s energy from renewables by 2030.

However, SCIAF director Alistair Dutton said more needs to be done to ensure global temperatures do not rise by more than 1.5C.

Scientists predict breaching this limit will have catastrophic consequences, with even Pope Francis calling for immediate action.

Dutton said: “Unless we do enough to address climate change, our reckless appetite for fossil fuels will change the climate beyond the point of no return, and the world’s poorest people and future generations will be hit hardest.

“We’re urging the First Minister and her government to set out a clear plan to phase out fossil fuels from Scotland’s energy mix and increase our use of clean energy. The Scottish Government must listen to the thousands of people who’ve joined their voices with Pope Francis and others in telling world leaders that they have to take their climate responsibilities seriously.

“SCIAF’s partners and the people we work with tell us all the time that life is becoming much more difficult because the weather has become unpredictable with storms, floods and droughts becoming more frequent and extreme.

“We know that the rise in global temperatures cannot exceed 1.5C without it causing enormous suffering to billions of people, mostly the poorest and most marginalised – some will starve because they cannot grow enough food, others will be killed in cyclones and hurricanes, islands will be submerged, and people will be have to flee from their homes.”

“Over 5700 responses to a campaign like this for any charity is phenomenal and I’d really like to thank all our supporters who’ve demonstrated that they also think this is a crucial issue that the Scottish Government must tackle.”

Campaign supporter Grace Buckley, a retired energy industry manager from Glasgow, said: “I know that, having worked in the industry, energy companies do want to do the right thing but they will only do it if there is a legislative framework to support them to do this, otherwise, the pressure is on them to make money.”