Nobel Laureate and outspoken environmental activist, Al Gore, is in Edinburgh this week to attend the Scottish low carbon investment conference. The conference is a part of a government-backed initiative to address the challenges facing offshore advancements and infrastructure projects, as well as showcasing possible solutions to these challenges.
First Minister Alex Salmond, who will open the event, said, “Scotland is uniquely positioned to exploit the opportunity presented by the global commitment to renewable energy and low carbon technology.” Sustainable economic growth has been amongst the Scottish government’s central concerns since the SNP came to power in 2007. The SNP has set, what critics refer to as, “overambitious” targets to produce the equivalent of 100% of electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
The First Minister went on to add: “The world faces both a moral obligation to act against growing climate chaos and a clear economic imperative to avoid much greater future costs – a truth that is being increasingly recognised across the world.”
There is no question that the star of the critically acclaimed documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth” is well equipped with the tools demonstrate to the world the potential of a low-carbon future. However, Gore has been outspoken about his uncertainty towards nuclear power, the substitute to renewable energy, saying he is “sceptical about it.”
Although, the labour party declared in the Scottish labour manifesto that, “nuclear capacity [should] be considered on its merits”, both parties agree on pushing Scotland forward as the world leader in low-carbon emissions.
As well as reaching 100% renewable energy efficiency, Scotland’s 2020 target also aspires to:
Scotland is well on its way to surpassing its 2007 renewable energy goal to procure 31% of power generation from renewable sources by the end this year and meeting the eventual 2020 target of 100% (equivalent) power being generated from renewables. With fears regarding the over consumption of oil and the intensifying global warming debates, the subject has been propelled higher on the global political agenda, encouraging the use of biofuels.
Despite growing support from both the private and the public sectors, concerns about the effect of renewable energy technologies on the natural environment have been expressed. In addition, there has been a maturing political debate about the relationship between location and ownership of the extensively distributed technologies.