By Nick Morrison
This policy document was launched on the 23rd of September at an international conference in Stromness.
Scottish cabinet secretary Fiona Hyslop MSP wrote the foreword to this document and also addressed the conference .
As the health and status of the Arctic is crucial in our efforts to combat climate change it is highly likely that many of our actions will spill out of this comprehensive 44 page document .
The document builds on Scotland’s and Orkney’s passed sterling work in the Arctic region . It is replete with case studies of what we have done and are continuing to do in the Arctic Region.
It covers Education Research and Innovation Cultural ties, Rural connections , Climate Change , Clean Energy , and Sustainable economic development .
On the subject of Education and Research we now have a third University in Orkney in the shape of Robert Gordon University. The RGU is hanging its hat in the Stromness Campus. Reintroduction of a course in engineering by the Kirkwall Campus of UHI is timely , and there may well be an expanded role for their Institute of Northern studies .
A document of this nature obviously takes some time to produce , it appears that in this time lapse the team that was producing it was caught out by the accelerating rate of climate change . Some of the targets will need to be changed to a shorter time frame . Not so long ago climate scientists were giving us 16 years to fix it then it was 12 now it is little as eight . The spectre of runaway climate change caused by methane emissions is still very much with us . Estimates of sea level rise vary between 60 and 80 metres . We know how much that we do not know how soon . As little as 3 meters could cause significant global disruption . London, New York, New Orleans, and Jakarta would be affected for example.
This is in stark contrast to what is coming out from Westminster or rather what is not coming out from Westminster . Westminster was given data on accelerating climate change in 2014 . We have yet to see any actions from that quarter .
Westminster has actually made things worse. They stopped the subsidies for wind turbines thus destroying some turbine companies including the one which supplied 80 odd turbines in Orkney/Shetland, have reduced the FIT, and are in the process of removing the removing the subsidy for solar panels, whilst still —– wait for it, subsidising fossil fuels!