Scotland is on the cutting edge of the fight against climate change with the recent approval of several very ambitious laws, plans and targets, that will set precedents throughout the rest of Europe.
This year saw the approval of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 which sets out the target to reduce emissions by at least 80% by the year 2050, in addition to promoting a sustainable low carbon economy in Scotland. Other aims that have been set are that 50% of the electricity generated in Scotland should come from renewable sources by 2020; and that 20% of all the energy consumed in Scotland should come from renewable sources by 2020.
The approval of such ambitious targets must not be dissociated from their context, as the Scottish Government has been formed since 2007 by the alliance between the Scottish National Party and The Scottish Greens.
Furthermore, it is not only true that wind power is something that the Scots have in abundance, but we must also recognize that they are exploiting it to the full. Therefore, Scotland is the home to the largest onshore wind farm in Europe at Whitelee (this link will take you to a BBC video) run by Scottish Power (part of the Spanish company Iberdrola) and has the capacity to generate enough power to meet the electricity needs of Glasgow (almost 1million inhabitants).
In addition, measures against climate change are focused on local government and following the approval in 2007 of the Scotland Climate Change Declaration the 32 Scottish councils have carried out Carbon Management Plans to reduce their emissions. These carbon reports are carried out by councils each year to show that the targets are being met.
The Scotland Climate Change Adaptation Framework has been developed to help the adaptation to climate change, which in Scotland and the rest of the UK is expected to lead to a higher rate of floods and a rise in sea level in certain places along the coast.
Ambitious targets are not only being set with regard to climate change, but the Scottish government has also set a target for 2025 in waste management, to only take 5% of waste to the dump, having set a 25% maximum limit for incineration (the Scottish has stated its clear opposition to incineration) – meaning that 70% of waste has to be recycled or composted by the year 2025 (at present the rate of recycling/composting is 30%).
All of this brings to mind the idea of the suitability of handing over more power to the Greens in Spain, to make it really possible to carry out a change towards a low carbon economy… Would that be possible in Spain?