Net Zero Scotland
Scotland has world-leading climate change legislation that sets a target for net zero emissions by 2045. This legislation lays out the duties and responsibilities of public bodies to make the transition. It requires clear leadership, consistent policies and increased knowledge to achieve this goal. Scotland's sustainability network (SSN) works with all major public bodies to scale impact by delivering policy and research on climate change. To learn more, visit net zero Scotland.
The Scottish government's plan to reach net zero emissions by 2050 is at risk of failing after the Treasury turned down a request for a funding plan - which could mean that the UK has no plan at all. Meanwhile, Scotland's minister for zero carbon buildings, Patrick Harvie, has called on the UK government to reconsider its woefully inadequate plans to address fuel poverty and insulate homes. He said the UK government must act now or risk destroying the net zero agenda.
To meet its 2030 milestone targets, Scotland must make major changes, including by using low carbon transport. The Scottish Government's Climate Change Plan sets out ambitious pathways for cutting emissions in key sectors, including aviation and shipping. The UK has made progress, but Scotland's ambition is significantly higher. Climate change in Scotland requires major changes and it is imperative that the country makes a significant contribution to tackling this issue. It is important to note that Scotland has been ahead of many countries, including Sweden, and has set ambitious milestone targets for itself.
Despite the ambition of the Scottish government, it has been criticised by the influential Citizens' Assembly on Climate Change (Emission Reduction Targets) (Scotland) in recent years. The Assembly convened over 100 people to discuss climate change issues and make recommendations for Scotland. The Assembly will report its findings by June 2021, and the Scottish Government will then respond. If this doesn't happen, the Assembly will need to go ahead and set the country's own climate action plans.
The Fraser of Allander Economic Commentary looks at Scotland's path to net zero and the quality of the environment, and its progress towards achieving it. The NPF measures the progress of 81 national indicators in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The NPF is a localised version of the UN's international ambitions. The economy outcome includes measures of greenhouse gas emissions, carbon footprint, and environmental wellbeing.
Transition to net-zero emissions
The government of Scotland has set ambitious targets for a transition to net-zero emissions by 2045 and has committed to achieving this goal five years earlier than the rest of the UK. This has created a politically favourable environment for carbon offsetting projects. The government has also introduced a range of grants for landowners to promote afforestation. A recent report released by openDemocracy reveals the extent of dark money funding think tanks.
Community Right to Buy was introduced in 2003, giving local communities first option to buy land that goes up for sale. The land in Scotland covers around 99% of its area and one fifth of that is peatland, which acts as a natural carbon sink. Eight out of ten people live in the urbanised areas, making it impossible for the country to reach its climate targets if the country's rural areas are not protected.
The political economy and behaviour of citizens influence policy and business decisions. A shift towards net-zero emissions will only be successful if the public embraces the new policies. Until then, political will may not be strong enough to overcome opposition to change. Ultimately, the government should consider the costs of decarbonisation and ensure that citizens' expectations are realistic and achievable. With these benefits in mind, a coherent package of policies should be developed.
In addition to the UK's commitments to the Paris Agreement, Scotland also has world-leading hydrogen demonstration projects. In Fife, for example, the H100 project is developing the world's first domestic hydrogen heat network. Hydrogen buses are also being developed, while hydrogen production from tidal energy has also been successfully tested in Orkney. In short, Scotland has a bright future for the transition to net-zero emissions, but there is also a lot of work to be done to ensure that it does so.
In response to the Scottish Government's consultation on the draft National Planning Framework (NPF4), the Scottish Government is seeking views from stakeholders about the role of local government in reaching net zero. There are numerous new policies that need to be given due weight, including the Global Climate Emergency. RTPI Scotland has taken note of the consultation on local development plans and will respond to this in due course. Local government should play an active role in ensuring that local policies and decisions are climate-friendly.
One of the barriers to progressing towards a net-zero economy is lack of dedicated personnel within local authorities. It has been reported that local authorities in Scotland often lack information and resources related to sustainable energy. As a result, the scope of LHEES has been limited and its engagement with stakeholders has been informal and voluntary. Officers have given the reasons that it was not a priority for them to participate in these initiatives.
However, the role of local government in delivering net-zero is an important one. With the new energy system, local authorities can play a pivotal role. By developing local plans, they can use existing capacity more efficiently and map a cost-effective route to net-zero. Local authorities are being supported to create these plans through a range of initiatives, including the development of Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategies and Local Network Plans. The aim of these plans is to take a whole-system view of energy use and the impact of an increasing number of low-carbon technologies on local infrastructure.
The Scottish Government is currently developing long-term policies to encourage heat decarbonisation and energy efficiency, and these plans could enhance the capacity of local authorities and enable innovations in local governance for decarbonising the built environment. Despite the proponents of localism, local authorities in the UK still remain administrative arms of central governments and are constrained by centrally-defined statutory duties. In addition, central government's budget has been decreasing.
The Scottish government's response to the climate emergency has included a legally binding target for achieving net zero emissions by 2045. Scotland's built environment and construction industry account for 40% of Scotland's total emissions, so meeting these ambitions is crucial. To achieve net zero, the industry needs to adopt new construction methods, build to new standards, and convert existing buildings into more energy efficient ones. As these changes are likely to occur quickly, the skills needed are increasing.
Training courses must be monitored to help create capacity and mitigate risk. However, the Scottish Government's proposal includes a transition period, during which the skills matrix would first be introduced as voluntary guidance and then be made mandatory. This could mitigate some of the risks associated with mandatory training requirements, such as financial and environmental risks. A lack of skilled labour could delay the rollout of low carbon installations, which could hinder Scotland's ability to meet its climate change targets and achieve net zero emissions.
Renewable energy requires core competences and experience in safety critical environments. Specific skills in gas engineering, operations, and power grid management are also required. In Scotland, a move to decarbonise the heating system could support 24,000 jobs by 2020. As the most pressing long-term challenge facing the skills landscape, the Skills Required for Net Zero Scotland (CEPS) plan seeks to support this opportunity, as well as the skills investment Scotland needs to achieve net zero.
The Scottish Government continues to invest in research and postgraduate provision, while energy companies are increasingly engaging with education and training. In addition, ESP has mobilised Scottish colleges to develop formal training networks to support the necessary technologies. It has also created formal training networks that align around major projects. The new training networks are flexible enough to meet emerging skills requirements. This means that Scotland will be well placed to take advantage of its global position in the energy sector.
To become net zero by 2045, towns and cities across Scotland are taking initiative. These initiatives are often led by community organisations, and focus on reducing energy usage, local food growing, recycling, and sustainable transport. The initiatives can benefit people's health, too. There are many resources to help you get started, including case studies, social media posts, videos, and images. Here are some examples:
The Scottish government has set ambitious climate change targets, and is committed to achieving net zero by 2045. This is five years earlier than the UK. The Scottish Government has declared a climate emergency and announced a long-term plan to reach this goal by 2045. The Scottish Government's aim is to become carbon neutral by 2045, which is the same as the target set by the UN. To reach this goal, businesses, communities, and individuals can access resources and tips on the Net Zero Nation website.
In terms of renewable energy, the total current bioresources in Scotland are estimated at 8.9 TWh. This is a slight increase over the previous estimate, which was only 6.7 TWh. The additional 3.6 TWh of biomass is attributed to increases in waste wood, small round wood, and residual waste. The remaining eight TWh represents dry bioresources, which are suitable for combustion.
The CCC simulations show that bioenergy demand in Scotland is relatively stable throughout the UK. However, in Scotland, it increases by around 50%, driven by the power industry. BECCS Power installations are installed in the TIMES simulation, but the amount of biomass imported varies between the two models. This analysis shows that the CCC pathway is not directly comparable to the TIMES simulation model. It also provides the total biomass imported.
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