The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 requires Scotland to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 42% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. In 2006, The City of Edinburgh Council (C.E.C) launched an ambitious target of achieving a Zero Carbon Economy by 2050. The C.E.C’s 2008 Carbon Management Plan also aims to reduce emissions by 25% by 2013.
With the first target now only two years away, a 2010 report highlighted that Edinburgh had achieved a 4.8% reduction by 2010.
So, a lot still to be done and the chance of achieving a 25% reduction by 2013 seem unlikely, but were these targets too ambitious to begin with? A recent report by GVA highlights that Edinburgh’s targets were too vague and focused too much on the council’s emissions, rather than city wide figures and that there is not enough engagement with local business. There is also an issue as to the accuracy of how emissions are measured.
It is not all doom and gloom however! Edinburgh has several initiatives to tackle climate change, and whilst the 2050 target is perhaps unrealistic, things are being achieved. The Zero Waste Scotland project includes a new waste treatment plant for Edinburgh which will contribute to reducing landfill and increase recycling. A 2006 report detailed a decentralised energy strategy and the first hybrid buses have hit the roads.
Forum for the Future’s ‘Sustainable Cities Index’ ranks the sustainability of the United Kingdom’s 20 largest cities. In 2010 Edinburgh was ranked 9th, with Newcastle topping the list. According to Forum for the Future “..the strong performers tend to share a mixture of strategic long-term ambitions and high aspirations, coupled with good governance and pressure from environmentally aware populations.” It seems for Edinburgh to engineer a zero carbon economy by 2050, more specific plans are required.
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Credits: Photographs linked to source. Read more about the City Of Edinburgh Council - Scotlands Climate Change Declaration - Annual Report 2010 here.