Scotland’s Environment Minister, Stewart Stevenson, has highlighted Scotland’s world-leading role in both the development of renewables and in championing the need for climate justice for the world’s poorest communities as he marks World Environment Day.
The theme for World Environment Day is ‘The Green Economy’, Scotland has around a quarter of Europe’s offshore wind and tidal energy resource and a tenth of its wave power potential.
Last year, Scotland produced a record amount of renewable electricity, amounting to more than a third of gross domestic consumption - exceeding the Scottish Government’s 2011 target of 31 per cent and Scotland is on track to deliver the equivalent of at least 100 per cent of gross electricity consumption by 2020, with Scotland remaining a net exporter of power.
Last week Mr Stevenson joined First Minister, Alex Salmond, and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, to launch Scotland’s Climate Justice Fund. Scotland is calling on other nations to rise to the challenge of climate justice, to ensure that the world’s poorest do not have to bear the brunt of climate change.
Mr Stevenson will be attending the UN Rio + 20 summit later this month as part of the UK delegation.
Mr Stevenson said: “The topic of this year’s World Environment Day could not be more apt for Scotland. The low carbon economy offers a huge opportunity for us, creating tens of thousands of jobs and reindustrialising our economy.
“As we create green jobs at home we are helping other countries develop renewable energy, and also tackling the devastating impact of climate change on the world’s poorest. It is a joined up vision we can be proud of and one which other countries should take note.
“The renewables industry already supports more than 11,000 jobs across Scotland and plans to install up to 10 Gigawatts of offshore wind generating capacity in Scottish waters are predicted to generate around £30 billion of investment by 2020 and to directly employ up to 28,000 people.
“The emerging wave and tidal energy industry, where up to 1.6 GW of capacity is planned for the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters, is predicted to create several thousand more renewables jobs.
“Three years ago Scotland set world leading carbon reduction targets, we are becoming a world-leader in renewables development and low carbon technology and we have just launched our innovative Climate Justice Fund – which opens for applications tomorrow.
“This multi-million pound fund, which has gained international support from former UN Human Rights High Commissioner Mary Robinson, as well as having a broad base of support across civic Scotland, will help the world’s poorest communities adapt to the impact of the changing climate. The fund opens for applications tomorrow and will focus on water related projects in Malawi, Tanzania, Rwanda and Zambia.”
Leases have already been granted to develop more than 11 GigaWatts of offshore wind, wave and tidal-energy generating capacity up to 2020 – by when, Scotland aims to be producing 100 per cent of our domestic electricity needs from renewables, while continuing as a net exporter of power.
Rises in wholesale gas prices have led to a sharp rise in household utility bills, and the Scottish Government is committed to reducing dependence on imported fossil fuels. Recent analysis published by the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change has shown that low carbon energy policies and measures could lead to an average household energy bill of £1,285 by 2020 – whereas ‘business as usual’ would result in bills of £1,379.
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