Two Contrasting Reports Affecting How Scotland Tackles Climate Change

climate-changeThe IPCC – the United Nationals Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has published  a Special Report on Climate Change and Land. The report released on Thursday 8th of August  explores how the way we use our land contributes to climate change and how climate change affects our land.

You can access the report by clicking on this link: Climate Change and Land

107 leading scientists across 52 countries contributed to the report’s findings.

Commenting on the report, Friends of the Earth Scotland climate campaigner Caroline Rance said:

“The IPCC Special Report on Land and Climate Change warns that the way we’re currently treating our land, from intensive, industrial agriculture to planting vast areas of land with just one type of tree, is wrecking our ability to tackle the climate crisis.

“In Scotland, agriculture and land use is responsible for almost a quarter of our climate emissions every year; we urgently need to switch to more sustainable farming practices and restore our damaged peatlands and forests to enhance their capacity to store carbon.

“The report also highlights the importance of reducing large scale, industrial meat production if we want to improve human and planetary health. Governments need to end support for huge industrial agribusiness and instead encourage more sustainable methods of farming and land use.”

On Wednesday the Scottish Government took its Cabinet meeting to Stirling where it pledged to plant trees in a community forest to offset the carbon emissions caused by travelling to the town. Scotland’s Climate Change Bill is progressing through the Scottish Parliament having passed Stage 2.

Whilst in Stirling, the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon officially opened the £6million Stirling District Heat Network which harnesses renewable energy from waste water.

Nicola Sturgeon said:

“Earlier this year Scotland became one of the first countries in the world to acknowledge the fact that we are facing a global climate emergency, and it is only right that we take appropriate action – with all policies being re-examined to ensure they meet our climate ambitions.”

The First Minister committed the Scottish Government to ” ensure future meetings are as low carbon as possible” .

The IPCC Report states that there is a vital  need to :

  • Manage land more sustainably
  • Move away from large scale, intensive meat production

And warns against:

Large-scale bioenergy (growing crops to burn for energy) which will take land away from food production or natural ecosystems.

Caroline Rance, of FoE Scotland said:

“The Scottish Government has begun to talk about growing biofuel crops in Scotland for energy, but this report makes clear that large scale bioenergy is not a solution to the climate crisis and highlights the dangers of using land for fuel instead of food. These unproven technical fixes will not solve the climate crisis and we can’t let this happen.

“We’re living in a Climate Emergency and the Scottish Government must begin to act like it. This means ending their support for new oil and gas exploration, getting to grips with our polluting transport system and reducing the climate impact of our agriculture and land use.”

This comes in the same week as Professor Alex Kemp and Dr Linda Stephen at the University of Aberdeen published their paper on the potential for oil and gas production by using  cluster groupings.

Alex Kemp

Professor Alex Kemp

The novelty of the new study was to examine the economic viability of developing the fields through cluster developments whereby a common infrastructure is employed to facilitate the development of a group of fields in reasonably close proximity to each other. 

80 clusters covered 401 fields in all main areas of the UK’s Continental Shelf.

You can read the full report here: The Potential Contribution of Cluster  Developments to Maximising Economic Recovery in the UKCS

The assumptions regarding the saving in costs from clusters in the present study are quite cautious. The premium on investment costs employed in the modelling is quite substantial. This gives support to the idea that the costs of cluster developments could become lower than indicated in this study.

Perhaps people in Orkney might want to share their views on the above reports with the Scottish Government.

The Big Climate Conversation

On Wednesday 14th of August , the Big Climate Conversation will be taking place at the St Magnus Centre, Kirkwall, Orkney. The meeting is open to the public and starts at 5.30pm. You can register here:  Orkney event.

It will cover questions such as:

  • Did you know that Scotland has declared a climate emergency?
  • Would you reduce how much meat you eat?
  • Would you give up your car to help stop climate change?
  • Would you switch to renewable energy for your house?

Some meetings have already taken place but there are still some to come across Scotland:

Location: Perth

Date: 29 August

Register for the Perth event here

Location: Edinburgh

Date: 26 August

Register for the Edinburgh event here

Location: Dumfries

Date: 2 September

Register for the Dumfries event here

Location: Inverness

Date: 11 September

Register for the Inverness event here


Reporter: Fiona Grahame

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1 reply »

  1. “Did you know that Scotland has declared a climate emergency?
    Would you reduce how much meat you eat?
    Would you give up your car to help stop climate change?
    Would you switch to renewable energy for your house?”

    I believe these are critical questions that will drive the climate action of the world, not just Scotland. No matter how much we raise awareness and create noise, the majority will only answer those questions positively if they see an incentive to do so.

    Are they being affected by climate change directly? If yes, they may respond positively. Otherwise, for the majority, it is a question of cost-effectiveness and incentives.

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