Scotland’s cities face an uphill battle to cut their carbon emissions and meet government targets, a report claimed yesterday.
In theory, Edinburgh would need to reduce the number of cars on the road by more than a third, Glasgow would have to erect more than 1,300 wind turbines and every building in Inverness would need to be carbon neutral if the country is to reach the recently-set government targets of a 60 per cent cut by 2050.
The suggestions are made in a new report by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in Scotland (RICS) which looked at aspects of climate change across the country.
The report, City Climate Challenge: your city, your responsibility, examines the key challenges for Edinburgh’s transport network, Glasgow’s energy supply and energy demand in Inverness.
To emphasise the scale of the challenge, the report gave extreme examples of how each city could hit the targets.
It concluded that Edinburgh would need to have 57,500 fewer cars on the road, a reduction of 35 per cent, by 2050.
For Glasgow, 1,344 wind turbines or 35 Glendoe hydro schemes would be required to power the city alone, based on its current usage.
Inverness would have to see every building performing to the highest standards of energy efficiency to just meet the 60 per cent cut, based on half the city’s current growth rate.
Graeme Hartley, director of RICS Scotland, said it was natural that the institute should enter into the climate debate.
“The built environment affects every aspect of the way that we live and work, and therefore commands a huge influence over carbon emissions and climate change,” he said.
“We need strong leadership from government and joined-up policies that will make the most of the planning, transport and construction expertise that already exists.
“This report proves it would be foolish to sit back and hope that technology will solve the problem. Doing nothing is not an option. The questions are how much we will do, and how quickly.”
Other aspects of the research highlighted “a worrying lack of available data” on the built environment – such as the number and types of buildings, usage and floor space. This, the report says, will make it difficult to set benchmark standards while tracking any reductions.
A spokesman for Friends of the Earth Scotland said: “They are pointing out that our built environment changes very slowly and one of the biggest problems is that the current housing stock will still be here in 2050. This stock will have to be massively improved in terms of energy efficiency.”
He added that focusing on the individual problems of each city had failed to address the fact that all three cities shared the others’ problems to a greater or lesser extent.
However, he added that any research which would help to push government policy makers to speed up the process of improving energy efficiency was to be welcomed.
23 March 2007
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