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A leading climate change academic has announced that Scotland is likely to meet its target of creating 100 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2020.
Speaking at the Citizen's Assembly event in Dublin, Professor Andy Kerr of the University of Edinburgh School of Geosciences said that said that Scotland has increased the percentage of energy created by renewables sixfold over the last 15 years and has reached its own emissions targets fives years ahead of time.
According to Kerr, Scotland has already exceeded the target of 500 megawatts (MW) of power from locally-owned, locally-sourced renewables by 2020 and had thus revised the goal upwards to 1,000 MW (one gigawatt) produced.
"There is clear evidence in Scotland that supporting local communities to get involved in - and benefit from - the local energy system enables a range of related social and economic co-benefits," said the professor.
Scotland set the lofty goal of a 42% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from 1990 levels by 2020 - considerably more than the target of 32% that was set for the United Kingdom as a whole - moving up to 80 percent overall. The nation has reached that aim already, without any negative impact on the Scottish economy.
Prof Kerr told the Citizen's Assembly that there had been broad support across the Scottish Parliament for the scheme, with a unanimous acceptance of the plans when they were voted on in 2009 and that this cross-party enthusiasm had translated into public support.
Over 75 percent of the Scottish public are in favour of measures to combat climate change, according to recent polls, and Scottish industry, particularly the vital whiskey industry, had got on board as well.
Kerr commended the way in which reforms that dealt with global warming had not been sold to the public as being abstract campaigns "about polar bears" and instead had been packaged as a transition to a more sustainable way of living. Local campaigns against wind farms had been assuaged by allowing local communities to become stakeholders in developments by granting them an equity share.
Scotland still has some way to go to lead the world, however. Speaking at the same event, former European commissioner for climate change Connie Hedegaard said that Denmark, her nation, now generated 30 percent of its total energy from renewables, making it the second most energy efficient nation after Japan.
She said that the presumption that renewables were a more expensive option than fossil fuels had been broken, with energy prices in Denmark roughly the same as those elsewhere in Europe.
Source: Irish Times