Scotland to have ‘zero carbon islands’ within two decades

Glasgow will host COP26, the global UN climate conference, later this year.

Scotland to have ‘zero carbon islands’ within two decades iStock

At least three of Scotland’s islands will be completely carbon neutral by 2040, the Scottish Government has said.

Islands secretary Mairi Gougeon announced the new Carbon Neutral Islands project that aims to create jobs, protect regional environments and contribute to the country’s 2045 net-zero commitment.

Gougeon said: “Some of the actions that might be taken could also help address some of the other challenges for our islands like depopulation, the need for tourism to be more sustainable and fuel poverty.

“Island communities are already engaged and acting to cut emissions and our commitment to make at least three of our islands carbon neutral by 2040 will seek to build on work already under way.”

Scottish islands are already home to several off-grid electricity networks, including on Canna, Eigg, Rum, Muck, Fair Isle and Foula.

The island of Eigg uses a combination of battery storage, micro-hydro, wind and solar power generation plants.

A £28.5m project is transforming Orkney into a “smart island” digitally linking renewable energy with consumer demand.

ReFLEX Orkney is a network of technology including batteries in homes and businesses as well as electric vehicles.

Climate activist Greta Thunberg has said she does not believe Scotland is a world leader on climate change, as the Scottish Government claims.

In October, Glasgow will host COP26, the global UN climate conference.

The islands secretary said: “We are determined for Scotland to lead the world in tackling climate change. We know that our islands are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change but also have huge potential and natural capital that will help us meet our net-zero ambition.

“Scotland’s islands can play a really significant role in the race to net-zero and we want to give them the tools to do that.

“Supporting islands to become carbon neutral will help protect their unique heritage, culture and biodiversity, while also delivering on our commitment to support island communities to flourish economically and socially.”

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