Reducing Scotland’s Emissions - Local Authorities Have a Critical Role to Play

Scotland’s local authorities are recognising the role they play in responding to the challenge of climate change.
Published: Wed 01 Apr 2015

The local authorities in Scotland are taking climate change very seriously and their response to Scotland’s Climate Change Declaration is proof of this, says Councillor Stephen Hagan, spokesperson for development, economy and sustainability, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla), who spoke at Low Carbon Scotland.

Scotland’s Climate Change Declaration

Scotland’s Climate Change Declaration was developed in 2006 by the Sustainable Scotland Network in partnership with the Scottish Government, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE) Scotland, and others. The Declaration was launched in January 2007 and by April 2007, all 32 local authorities had signed the Declaration, recognising the role they play in responding to the challenge of climate change.

By signing the declaration, the councils’ commitment to action requires that they pledge both to mitigate their impact on climate change (by reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide) and to adapt to predicted climate change impacts (by preparing for the impacts that a changing climate will bring). The Declaration also contains a strong commitment to sustainable development.

Local authorities are also required to issue an annual report detailing the progress of their climate change response.

Declaration sees a drop in carbon emissions

Hagan says that this strong voluntary response occurs every year. As a result, from 2007 to 2013, there was a 21% reduction in emissions.

“This declaration and annual report encourages people to do better and further reduce their emissions level. All parties recognise that the easy goals have been met and they realise that the challenge is now to improve further. Local authorities are now looking into EV development and more energy efficient street lighting.”

He adds that the local authorities are showing their commitment to reduce carbon emissions by submitting the annual report. “People recognise that we have to do something about it and leadership in communities is so important. In fact, all sectors have to play their part to reach these emissions goals.”

Says Hagan, “The emissions goals are very challenging. People will have to come up with innovative ideas that will make the difference. Collaboration between private and public and even countries will help us meet goals. We need to learn from each other to reach these goals. Today, we are not talking about problems- we are talking about solutions.”