A new report calling for additional action to promote a green recovery for Glasgow post-Covid-19 has been put before a council committee.
The Climate Emergency Implementation Plan joins other recent calls for more investment in climate friendly technology to rebuild the Scottish and UK economies.
Glasgow Council’s Environment, Sustainability and Carbon Reduction (ESCR) Policy Committee heard that ‘bold leadership and substantial investment’ is required for the city to meet its target of carbon neutrality by 2030 and tackle climate change.
While the report praised Glasgow’s efforts in reducing carbon emissions, the report also warned that current progress is too slow. It called for rapid action to lessen the impact of climate change and reverse emerging weather trends.
Recent figures show that Glasgow produced 2.65 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2017, a 1.45-million-tonne drop compared to 2005’s baseline. Emission sources were split broadly between transport, domestic energy consumption and the energy needs of industry and commerce.
The plan builds on current work to address climate change and sets out 52 different actions intended to drive Glasgow towards net zero carbon emissions by 2030. The actions join the 61 recommendations made by Glasgow’s Climate Emergency Working Group in August last year.
The new 52 actions cover key issues such as transport, energy and heating for homes and industry, along with initiatives to reduce waste and improve recycling, enhance the city’s natural environment, build resilience against future weather events and develop the city’s green economy.
It is also envisaged that the council works with multiple partners in government, the public sector, private sector, and local communities to achieve the ambition of becoming carbon neutral.
With the council declaring a climate and ecological emergency in May 2019, Councillor Anna Richardson, City Convener for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction, believes the climate change threat can only be averted if all sectors of society pull together.
She said: “The climate and ecological emergency is without doubt one of the biggest challenges faced by the council and its partners.
The council must take a lead but collaboration across the public sector, the private sector and communities are vital if the challenge is to be met.
“As the implementation plan shows Glasgow has begun to deliver the kind of change that’s needed, whether that’s transforming the energy efficiency of multi-storey homes, extending the availability of EV charging points or increasing the city’s tree coverage.
She said: “But it also clear there needs to be a sharp increase in the scope, scale and intensity of action to set Glasgow on course for achieving the 2030 target. The new implementation plan puts forward a wide range of actions that will shape how we heat our homes, travel around the city and create opportunities in the green economy of the future.
“Covid-19 has been a major shock to the system, but as we hopefully emerge from the current crisis we cannot lose sight of the fact that the climate emergency has not gone away. A green recovery from the pandemic is therefore essential as we have limited time to get to grips with climate change.
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The Glasgow report is not the first call for additional funding for climate friendly investment to boost the economy. The idea of a green recovery is being pushed by the UK Government. In a speech at the virtual Conservative Party conference, Prime Minister Boris Johnson put forward a £160-million wind energy plan.
This would see infrastructure and ports around the country upgraded with a view to powering every home in the country with wind power by 2030, Johnson said.
Edinburgh Council made recommendations to drive a green recovery earlier this year after hearing from the Edinburgh Climate Commission’s July report Faster Forward Together.
At the start of September, the Scottish government announced around £1.6 billion of funding as part of its enhanced Green New Deal. The funding will support up to 5,000 jobs and tackle fuel poverty.
The Scottish Government also recently invited private investors to participate in its Green Investment Portfolio, a £1.16 billion collection of low carbon and eco-friendly projects to help the transition to a net-zero economy.